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Possible Shared School for Virginia, MIB

Updated: 01/21/2014 10:52 PM
Created: 01/21/2014 3:12 PM WDIO.com

Virginia and Mt. Iron-Buhl share some things, like hockey teams. But other times, they are opponents, like on the basketball court. 

And the strong desire to maintain and serve each community is the reason the "standard" solution of consolidation is off the table, according to the districts. 

Both districts are facing the challenge of aging facilities. They've decided to join forces and look for funding together, for one new campus. 

The potential location is next to the Merritt Elementary in Mt. Iron.

According to plans from the districts, no staff would be eliminated, and the two districts would keep separate school boards and superintendents. The students would go to classes together, but at 3:15 when the bell rings, they would go their separate ways for their extra-curriculars.

The superintendents spoke to us on Tuesday.

"To co-exist in one, state-of-the-art facility, but maintain our own sports teams, and keep our school songs. This would allow our students to have a world class education," according to Deron Stender, superintendent in Virginia. 

John Klarich, superintendent in Mt. Iron, agrees. "We have a proud tradition at MIB. We like our independence. We are sound financially. But our facilities are aging."

Klarich said it could be a chance of a lifetime. He explained the potentially $75 million dollar venture is being sought from the legislature and taconite tax dollars.

The soonest the potential new school would be completed would be the fall of 2016.

Eveleth Gilbert is looking at joining these conversations. Their school board is having a special meeting about this on Thursday.

Two forums are coming up next week for the public to weigh on the co-located school.

1) Tuesday, January 28th, at Parkview in Virginia. 6pm

2) Wednesday, January 29th, at Merritt Elementary in Mt. Iron. 6pm

And for more detailed information: http://www.bettertogethermn.info

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