Staying together

Voters agree G-R should remain a district

G-R logo

REINBECK — The Gladbrook-Reinbeck Rebels will continue on as district voters cast 1,545 votes against dissolving the district, comfortably defeating the 690 votes in favor of dissolution.

“I’m elated,” said G-R Superintendent David Hill minutes after the unofficial results came in from the Tama County Auditor’s Office. “I feel there was a good turnout throughout the district.”

Hill, who is also the superintendent at North Tama County Community School District, said the vote represented the G-R community’s will on the dissolution issue, officially known as Public Measure C.

“This was a good representation of the community,” he said. “And when I say community, I mean the entire Gladbrook-Reinbeck community, all parts of the district.”

With unofficial numbers in, Hill said the focus should be on the success of the district.

“I’m very excited about these results, because it means we can return our focus to what G-R does best, and that is educating kids, helping to develop well-rounded citizens,” he said.

Of the 1,545 total votes against dissolving the district, 1,354 came from Reinbeck voters. Another 86 from Lincoln and 105 from Gladbrook also voted against dissolution.

Of the 690 total votes in favor of dissolution, 592 came from Gladbrook voters. A further 66 votes came from Lincoln and 32 from Reinbeck, according to the auditor’s office.

The unofficial numbers indicated strong support for dissolution in the Gladbrook area, where many families have chosen to open enroll their children to nearby districts in recent years. Conversely, in the Reinbeck area, voters heavily favored keeping the district together. Voters in the Lincoln area, located north of Gladbrook and south of Reinbeck, were more evenly split and had fewer total votes on the issue.

When they went to polling places to cast their ballots, G-R voters were presented with a yes-no vote to Public Measure C. A “no” vote indicated that a person did not want the district to dissolve. A “yes” vote indicated that they were in favor of dissolution. A map showing how the district would be divided up in the case of dissolution was also included at polling places.

The idea of dissolving the district can be traced back to at least February of 2015, when a 5-2 school board vote saw Gladbrook’s elementary and middle school buildings closed. All of the district’s school buildings were subsequently located in Reinbeck.

The vote to close the Gladbrook locations caused a split among many in the district, with some believing the move was harmful or unnecessary. The school board’s rationale for the move was to save money for the district during a period of budget cuts.

A first attempt to petition for dissolution failed to get school board approval in late 2016 with concerns about the petition’s validity. The petition that ultimately led to Tuesday’s vote was a second effort.

Both of the dissolution proposals to come out of those efforts had G-R divided among the five surrounding districts of Dike-New Hartford, Hudson, North Tama County, Green Mountain-Garwin and Grundy Center.

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com