BROWNTON - Voters in the McLeod West, Gibbon Fairfax Winthrop, Buffalo Lake Hector and Glencoe Silver Lake school districts overwhelmingly approved consolidation of the McLeod West into their districts Tuesday.
Unofficial vote totals were 3,115 for consolidation and 252 against. The issue won by a landslide in all four school districts.
Buffalo Lake Hector voters approved the plan by a vote of 552-16. The vote was 625-43 in the GFW School District, 1159-86 in Glencoe Silver Lake and 779-107 in McLeod West.
The consolidation wa prompted by financial problems at McLeod West.
The district will be $2.5 million in the red at the end of the year, which is over two-thirds of its annual budget.
Supporters of the plan say consolidation will provide for an orderly transition that will benefit students and strengthen the surviving districts with additional state funds.
"I'm pleased with the results. The consolidation is approved," said GFW Superintendent Steven Malone. "We're happy to move forward. The extra state aid money involved with benefit students."
"It's good to hear. It's what we wanted to see," said Brownton City Councilor Chuck Warner.
Warner is among proponents of a K-8 charter school program under way in Brownton.
"We'll march on from here. Our City Council meets tonight (Wednesday) to act on the charter school program," Warner added. "It looks like our ducks are in a row. An overwhelming vote should help us with the Minnesota Department of Education."
Warner said he feels it's fortunate there are young people in Brownton who are working "real hard" on the charter school.