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New Glarus, 2 others, to apply for school consolidation study grant
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NEW GLARUS - The New Glarus school board added its name to a grant request Monday to explore the possibility of a consolidation with either the Belleville or Monticello school districts.

The board approved the measure unanimously.

Monticello District Administrator Karen Ballin, in a statement Monday, said her district supported the grant to see if Monticello and New Glarus could benefit from consolidation.

"No additional action, other than willingness to look at these facts and figures, should be implied by our participation in the grant application," Ballin said. "Any discussion of school district consolidation is a sensitive topic but the board has an obligation to taxpayers to look at the facts."

New Glarus Administrator Barb Thompson echoed Ballin's comments when she talked to the New Glarus board Monday. Thompson said the idea was in the preliminary stage and none of the school districts involved have made a final decision about consolidation.

New Glarus board member Dave Noyce said he often hears about school consolidation when he talks to district residents.

"This is the first question I hear whenever there's talk about a referendum," Noyce said.

Ballin said Monticello has not yet signed the grant application, but anticipates doing so.

New Glarus board President Chris Bowie said the grant application must be returned to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction by Jan. 30. He anticipates the state to respond to the districts' request within a couple of weeks.

In December, the Wisconsin Department of Instruction sent information to all Wisconsin school districts offering a grant for those that want to study consolidating with other districts.

The grant enables districts to examine such things as enrollment, levies and tax rates to determine if it makes financial sense for the districts to join.

The three districts could share up to $10,000 to conduct the study.