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School board to mull change

The Hatton and Northwood, N.D., school boards held a joint board meeting Tuesday morning to discuss last week's vote on school consolidation, which resulted in split-vote, officials said.

The Hatton and Northwood, N.D., school boards held a joint board meeting Tuesday morning to discuss last week's vote on school consolidation, which resulted in split-vote, officials said.

Northwood voters overwhelmingly approved the consolidation measure by a vote of 355 to 14 (96 percent), while Hatton rejected the measure by a vote of 234 to 173 (57.5 percent). A majority was needed in both communities for the consolidation to proceed.

Under the plan, all students in grades nine through 12 would have attended school in Northwood, while seventh- and eighth- grade students would have been in Hatton, starting in the fall of 2008. The two towns, located 35 miles southwest of Grand Forks, are 12 miles apart. Northwood superintendent Paula Pederson said a second joint meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday to make a final decision on whether to pursue the consolidation idea.

Kevin Wold, a Hatton School Board member, said there were many "ifs" in the discussion.

Even if the two boards could agree on the terms and vote 'yes' to the consolidation plan, there is another question of if they could meet the Feb. 1 deadline in state law for setting up a new board for the school year, Wold said.

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And the earliest date they could vote is Dec. 11, Wold said.

"So, we are going to decide next week whether we want to keep pushing this (consolidation plan) through and meet the deadline or wait another year or keep the status quo," Pederson said.

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