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Forum News Service, Published April 29 2014

Iron Range shared school talks hit impasse

MOUNTAIN IRON, Minn. - A proposal to combine the students and teachers from three Iron Range school districts into one $110 million building in Mountain Iron is probably dead.

The school boards for the Mountain Iron-Buhl, Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia school districts held votes Monday night to enter into a joint powers agreement that would allow one “superboard” to make decisions regarding the proposal.

Only the Mountain Iron-Buhl board approved the agreement. The Eveleth-Gilbert board took the matter one step further, rescinding a January decision to enter into talks regarding the plan.

The three districts have been planning to co-locate in one building, each maintaining separate taxing authority and identities as far as sports teams. Funding for the school would come from a portion of the state’s tax on taconite iron ore.

Residents in each district have been torn on the proposal; some worried about its effect on the economy and some about the effect on community.

The Mountain Iron-Buhl and Virginia districts plan to meet next week to discuss what comes next.