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School dispute is continuing


Based on comments made by members of the Keep Redfield Middle School task force, the vote of the White Hall School Board on Jan. 8 to close Redfield Middle School at the end of the current school year is not the end of the issue.
Some members of the ad hoc task force have pledged to continue their running dispute with the school board and to take the issue to the courts, if necessary. Seeking state approval to establish a charter school is one of several options available to the group, but the deadline for establishing a charter school this year passed in October.
“You guys are making a severe mistake,” Todd Dobbins, who has headed the task force, told district directors before walking out of the Jan. 8 board meeting. Representatives of the task force had asked the board Jan. 3 for another year to demonstrate the Redfield’s school’s growth warrants keeping the school open.
At the Jan. 3 meeting task force members offered a more cooperative approach. However, Dobbins switched to a combative posture after the closure vote was taken.
The two Redfield residents who serve on the board, Connie Medsker and D.J. Stacey, voted against closure, asking the board to keep the school open another year
Superintendent Larry Smith said a state facilities survey suggested it would cost the district $4.5- to $6 million to renovate the existing Redfield school or $3.5 million to build a new middle school on the district-owned tract occupied by Hardin Elementary.
The selected alternative involves busing students from the Redfield school to White Hall Middle School.
The board might have granted the task force’s request to keep the Redfield school open another year if the task force’s approach had been less combative from the start of the initial discussions.