News Local/State

Rossville-Alvin & Bismarck-Henning School Districts Consider Co-op High School Proposal

View of Bismarck-Henning High School in Bismarck.

View of Bismarck-Henning High School in Bismarck. The school would become a co-op high school for the Bismarck-Henning and Rossville-Alvin school districts, if voters approve. Jim Meadows / Illinois Public Media

Voters in two Vermilion County school districts will vote on April 4th on whether they want to create a cooperative high school. If approved by majorities in both districts, the Rossville-Alvin school board would have a hand in governing Bismarck-Henning High School.

The proposal on the ballot would give Rossville Alvin’s school board half the seats on a special cooperative board governing Bismarck Henning High School. The Bismarck Henning school board would appoint members to the other half of the board, and the Bismarck Henning school board president would preside over the cooperative high school board.

About three-quarters of Rossville-Alvin kids already attend the high school (the rest attend Hoopeston Area High School), but under the co-op arrangement, all of them would.

Bismarck-Henning Superintendent Scott Watson says a cooperative high school would allow for money-saving efficiencies.

“Hopefully there’ll be some cost savings on our end, and we can take those costs to improve facilities, or more importantly, put that down to the K-8 kids we have in our district”, said Watson.

Rossville-Alvin closed its own high school years ago.

Rossville-Alvin Superintendent Crystal Johnson says going co-op would give their district a say in how Bismarck Henning High School is governed, making it easier for them to align curriculum. Johnson says currently, it’s difficult to align their junior high curriculum with two high schools in two other districts.

”We could be using something completely different from the other two school districts, and not preparing our students to where they need to be to transition into the high school level,” said Johnson.

Currently, Illinois has only one cooperative high school. Paris Cooperative High School in Edgar County is governed jointly by the Paris Union and Paris Crestwood school districts.

The Bismarck-Henning and Rossville-Alvin school boards held an informational public meeting on the co-op high school proposal in Bismarck on February 1. They plan another meeting for the Rossville-Alvin parents on Thursday, February 9. The meeting will begin at 6 pm in the gym of Rossville-Alvin Grade School (the former high school building), 350 N Chicago Street in Rossville.