The prospect of students attending high school in the village of Rossville is now a possibility again as Rossville-Alvin School District voters approved a referendum Tuesday.
Voters said “Yes” to a ballot question that gives the board of education permission to stop sending high school students to nearby Hoopeston Area or Bismarck-Henning high schools and to possibly reactivate the high school in Rossville.
The proposition was approved by voters 353 to 295, according to unofficial results Tuesday night.
Rossville-Alvin School Board President Darren Duncan said he was encouraged by the above-average turnout for a school board election.
“The only thing I was hopeful for was that people would get out and vote,” Duncan said.
While the move is a vote of support for reactivation of the high school, it does not necessarily mean the school board will take that action. The vote of assurance simply gives the board the authority to move forward with reactivation of the school if they ultimately deem it is the right thing to do.
Duncan said board members now plan to research and investigate re-opening the school. He said they’ll meet soon with their consultants.
A pair of consultants were hired to assess the cost of reactivating the school, which they found would have a price tag of around $1 million. Duncan says it costs that much to run the district annually as is.
Duncan said asking voters for their opinion about reactivating the high school was the first option when looking at creating a better financial situation for the district.
He said they’ve already looked at budget cuts and other cost-saving measures. They are facing a 10 percent increase in tuition for students attending in other districts this fall.
“With these finances being what they were, we were trying to do the best for the kids with what we had and deactivation wasn’t doing it for us,” Duncan said.
The community voted to deactivate and then subsequently close the high school about five years ago. High school students now attend either Bismarck-Henning or Hoopeston Area High School by choice, with the Rossville-Alvin district paying tuition for students to those schools.
Currently 54 Rossville-Alvin students attend Hoopeston Area High School and 62 students attend Bismarck-Henning High School.