It's August and local school officials are getting ready for the new school year.
They worry about enrollments, budgets, class offerings and class schedules.
It's fierce competition with schools of choice. Every student represents thousands of dollars for the school district.
The school district with the greatest appeal to students and parents wins.
That there is a winning school district implies there are losing school districts.
That's the problem in this era of smaller families and declining populations. There may be more than one school district with fewer students.
Recently, the Dickinson County Citizens Committee sponsored a county-wide survey to determine residents' opinions of forming a county-wide school district.
A consolidated school district would eliminate school districts from competing for a declining number of new students, and could save costs through combined services, proponents say.
As one might expect, the survey results showed support for consolidation in some areas of the county and opposition in others. It was conducted in Iron Mountain, Breitung Township, North Dickinson and Norway-Vulcan school districts.
The survey, the first county-wide school consolidation survey ever conducted in here, was highly detailed. It contains more than just opinions on consolidation.
It examines residents' feelings towards their school district, the classes and the school staff.
It discusses teachers, quality of education, bullying, facilities, transportation, taxes, class sizes, course offerings, extra-curricular offerings, state funding, and local school identity.
The survey was privately funded by the Dickinson County Citizens Committee. It was not funded by the school districts.
Once completed, the committee presented the survey findings to all four local school districts. What happens next will be up to the school districts and their residents.
Committee members should be commended for their interest and commitment to the local students and the local education system. Their concern and involvement produced a document that should be of interest to every county resident.
It should also serve as an important tool as school districts manage their way through this school year, and into the future.
To see the complete surveys for both the consolidation of the four county school districts and the consolidation of just the Iron Mountain and Breitung Township districts, follow the link to The Daily News webpage.
For the mail-in county-wide survey, go to extras.ironmountaindailynews.com/sections/consolidation-mailin-7-31/index.html.
For the phone survey of Iron Mountain and Breitung Township residents, go to extras.ironmountaindailynews.com/sections/consolidation-phone-7-31/index.html.