Norman County West School Board Approves Consolidation Proposal with Ada-Borup
Hendrum, MN — First a sports co-op, then a tuition agreement, and now consolidation. The partnership between Norman County West and Ada-Borup took the next step on Tuesday night as the Norman County West school board approved a resolution proposing the consolidation between them and Ada-Borup, paving the way for the two districts to become Ada-Borup West for the 2021-2022 school year. The vote from the Norman County West School Board was unanimously in favor, but not without hesitation from the board members who made the decision after months of discussions. However, Norman County West Superintendent Dr. Jim Hess notes that consolidation has always been the likely direction following their tuition agreement a few years ago.
Dr. Hess also stressed that consolidation with Ada-Borup doesn’t mean an end of an era for the district, but rather the start of new adventures and the opening of doors for more opportunities for the West students.
Superintendent Hess also wanted to commend the Norman County West Board members, who no doubt had been stressed out over this decision and put a lot of time and effort into these discussions.
The next step for Norman County West and Ada-Borup is to work with Norman County Commissioners, the Minnesota Department of Education, and with each other as well to make sure the transition goes smoothly. As part of the agreement, Norman County West taxpayers will take on 27% of just over $10 million dollars’ worth of Ada-Borup’s building debt. The new school board will begin with six members from Ada-Borup and three from Norman County West and will eventually transition to seven at-large positions. Many of the other details, including staffing, will be finalized in the coming months.
Prior to the consolidation vote at the meeting, Hendrum Mayor Curt Johannsen spoke to the board in regards to the future of the current West elementary school, which the new district does not plan on utilizing. Superintendent Hess noted the Mayor Johannsen and the city of Hendrum wanted to make it known that they are committed to finding a new purpose for the building if the district does have a use for it.
The Norman County West School Board also did their annual reorganization. Brad Merkens was again appointed Board Chair, Peter Jacobson was appointed Vice Chair, Matt Nelson was appointed as Clerk, and Lucas Spaeth was appointed Treasurer.