Complete the school survey

If yours is one of the 1,500 households to receive a Dickinson County Schools Consolidation Survey, we urge you to take the time to complete it and send it in.

Surveys need to be returned by June 20.

This is an important survey that will help determine the future of our children’s education.

Let’s face it. We are not what we used to be. Our population is not growing, and school enrollments are shrinking.

More students are graduating than are coming into the schools in kindergarten.

As a result, school districts cannot afford to offer advanced or specialized classes when there are less than a handful of students in the classroom.

Educators need to pool their resources to keep pace. One way to do that is consolidation.

The Dickinson County Schools Consolidation Survey is historic.

While there have been efforts to consolidate Iron Mountain Schools and Breitung Township Schools in the past, this is the first-ever effort to seek public opinion from all corners of Dickinson County.

“The purpose of this survey is to gather opinions on whether or not there is an interest in creating a county-wide school system,” said Bill Verrette, secretary-treasurer of the Consolidation Survey Committee, a local citizens group.

Surveys have been sent to voters living in all four county school districts – Breitung Township Schools, Iron Mountain Public Schools, North Dickinson County School, and Norway-Vulcan Area Schools.

There are some 8,000 voting households in Dickinson County, and a polling 1,500 would allow the committee to capture the widest possible expressions of opinion.

They are not complicated. It is anticipated that the survey will take about 10 minutes to complete.

Survey takers can complete the paper survey and mail it in at no expense, or complete the survey online.

Though extracurricular activities are important, we hope that this does not become a sports issue.

This is more crucial than “who will they play?” Rest assured, there will be teams to play.

In fact, if combined, a Dickinson County school district would have about the same number of students as Marquette and Escanaba – and those school districts seem to find enough sports opponents.

The Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District reports that were 3,620 students enrolled in Dickinson County schools during the 2013-14 school year.

This is slightly larger than the Escanaba Area School District, but not as large as the Marquette County School District.