Leland, Somonauk school consolidation question will be on June 28 ballot

State superintendent approved proposed consolidation, now voters will decide if it takes effect

The Illinois State Superintendent of Schools approved earlier this month the proposed consolidation of the Somonauk and Leland school districts, meaning the question will be put on the June 28 primary ballot for voters in the districts to decide.

Both boards of education for the school districts approved the consolidation going on the ballot. Additionally, a public hearing was held at the La Salle County Governmental Complex with the regional office of education.

A cornerstone outside Somonauk High School.

The referendum must pass in both Somonauk and Leland school districts for the merger to come to fruition.

“Combining the two districts would help us to provide students with stronger academic opportunities, as well as more extracurricular opportunities, while being more efficient for the taxpayers,” said Mike Short, president of the Somonauk School Board, in a press release.

The school boards believe they will be able to provide more curriculum opportunities, extracurricular activities and better respond to a teacher shortage through consolidation.

The state of Illinois would provide $1.1 million for the consolidation. These funds would go toward aligning existing contracts with staff, transportation costs and other immediate costs of the consolidation.

Savings would eventually be realized through needing just one superintendent, one athletics director, one audit, being able to purchase services as one entity and adjusting staffing through attrition. Taxpayers would only see a slight decrease in their rate.

If the consolidation were to pass both districts, a new school board will be elected in the November 2022 general election. The top seven vote getters regardless of residence will be seated on the new board.

“We want to build on the relationship we already have to create opportunities for our students, as well as, respond to the changing landscape of education,” said Claire Anderson, president of the Leland School Board.

The boards have created a website with frequently asked questions and more information on the consolidation at https://sites.google.com/somonauk.net/stronger-together/home for more information.

Leland School