State signs off on Hartington-Newcastle merger

Hartington Newcastle

LINCOLN  — Two proposed Cedar County school consolidations were approved Tuesday morning with two unanimous votes from the State Committee for the Reorganization of School Districts.

Coleridge Community Schools and Laurel-Concord Public Schools will become one Aug. 1, and Newcastle Public Schools and Hartington Public Schools will reform into one larger district on the same day.

The Newcastle-Hartington consolidation drew the most controversy at the meeting.

John Recknor, a Lincoln attorney who represented both consolidations, said because Newcastle was considering a merger with Hartington and Wynot, some parents responded by taking their students to nearby Ponca.

Soon after, Wynot dropped out of consolidation discussion.  Since then,  Newcastle enrollment has plunged.

“You have a logistics problem,” said Gerry Osborn, the board’s chairperson.

Depending on where students live in the district, some might find it more practical to send their students to Ponca instead of enrolling them in the merged district.

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