Harristown residents discuss changing school districts

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HARRISTOWN, Ill. (WAND) - Niantic, Illiopolis, and Harristown consolidated into the Sangamon Valley School District in 2004, but some residents are not happy with the schools.

Former School Board member, Michael Oakley organized a town hall meeting to discuss annexing Harristown students to a neighboring school district like Warrensburg-Latham. Some of his reasons behind the idea include Sangamon Valley being the highest taxing district, older academic buildings, less technology, and decreasing enrollment.

However, some parents that attended the meeting were not thrilled about the idea.

One Sangamon Valley parent, Lisa Hardy says, "Taking Harristown kids away from the school district will dissolve the whole school district. What are we going to do with the kids from Niantic and Illiopolis if we move Harristown somewhere else?"

Another parent, Cissy Trusner, loves the district and cannot imagine sending her kids anywhere else saying, "It's a small knit school. Everyone's there to help each other, support each other. We have a lot of great teachers. The administration is wonderful. I've never personally had an issue."

The meeting started at 6:30 p.m. and ended around 8:00 p.m. with about 50 people attending.

After about an hour of arguing back and forth about the annexing idea, one Harristown woman who did not say whether she agreed or disagreed with the idea simply looked at the bigger picture. She says, "He's got a good idea because he got us together. We need to fight. If you want Sangamon Valley to make it, you're going to have to fight for it. Or somebody's going to move us. So if you want it, fight for it. Get these meetings going, once a month have a meeting."

Oakley says as of now there is no petition going around. Sangamon Valley Superintendent Robert Meadows says he is completely against the idea. He says he will do everything in his power to protect the district and its assets.

Oakley will hold another meeting Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Harristown Township Building for further discussion on the matter.

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