ETNA GRADE SCHOOL TODAY
Nancy (Benefiel) Bode took this Photo in 2003 and she believes "that
the Etna School closed in 1961 when the new Neoga Elementary School was
opened." Bob Green bought the building and uses it for storage of
fertilizer and other farm products and supplies. And the school buses
roll smoothly through the village of Etna most weekdays.
QUERY FROM TOM BENEFIEL FOLLOWING A RECENT VISIT?
"I find it "interesting" that the center part of the
Etna/Buttermilk building combination, built much later than the north and south buildings, is the section that fell apart first! The entire roof of the kitchen/lunchroom/bathroom center section has collapsed, but the other two buildings are pretty solid. I've been up to them and you can't get inside without effort (which I won't do - it's private property)."
PROMPT ANSWER FROM FATHER BENEFIEL:
"The center portion of that building collapsed early because it was a nearly flat roof that slanted to the west. It's nearly impossible to keep a flat roof from leaking."
THE MERITS OF SCHOOL CONSOLIDATON ARE STILL A CONCERN:
From Zach Moore (Western Illinois University) in 2003,
"TO CONSOLIDATE, OR NOT TO CONSOLIDATE: A TOUCHY QUESTION FACING RURAL ILLINOIS. School consolidation in rural Illinois has again become a major topic over the past several years. Many experts in the education field, along with state officials overseeing public education, view consolidation as the best method for improving the rural education setting. While consolidation may be the answer to some, many of the rural residents in Illinois are not on the same page. These rural residents who oppose school consolidation feel that it will take from their identity, pride, and sense of community. So, as the process of consolidation seems to grow closer, the line between supporters and opposition also becomes more evident."
A RECENT CONSOLIDATION CASE:
December 2003 from The Number 2 Pencil site:
"School consolidation plans in Illinois are stirring up "bad blood" and bringing back "old grudges". Who knew educational planning could be so interesting?
Some say history repeats itself. The people of Livingston know that all too well. The 825 residents of this town in the northeast corner of Madison County have fought with each other over the future of its school district for more than a decade -- initially in the early 1990s and again this year.
Both instances resulted in bad blood and the rekindling of old grudges. Illinois has almost 900 school districts, and while some say they like the small, more personal schools because they provide residents with more control, others say larger schools offer more educational opportunities.
That's where the embers of consolidation originate. But Livingston also has a severe financial problem....In December 2002, the Illinois State Board of Education mandated that a Financial Oversight Panel assume control of the reeling district's finances. That panel decided earlier this year that Livingston's school district doesn't have enough money to operate past this school year...
Once the School Board made it known that it was formally pushing for dissolution of the district, the big question in Livingston revolved around geography: Will the students attend school in Staunton or Highland?
Apparently, this is a BIG deal to Illinois parents. The Madison County Regional Board of School Trustees was supposed to decide which school the students would now attend. But parents teamed up and successfully petitioned the board; the matter will now be voted upon by the general public. And there's debate about a state-funded report showing that Highland was the best school district; the competing school, Staunton, claims the report is full of errors."
Consolidation was believed to be necessary to reduce the tax dollars required for the public school system but has it provided a better education experience for our young people??