The Elma School District would like to be part of the city of Elma.
While Elma’s high school and middle school are located within city limits, the elementary school and district offices are just outside the city’s western boundary. Among other things, that means that the high school and middle school are served by the Elma Police Department, while the rest of the district’s property is served by the Sheriff’s Office. It also means the elementary school and district office pays about twice as much per water meter per year as those in the city limits — $83.21 per meter compared to $40.98, but those saving would be minimal, according to district officials.
On April 25, Elma Superintendent Howard King sent a letter to the city requesting the schools be included in the city’s annexation proposal. Elma School Board members talked about the issue at recent council meetings, but didn’t make any decisions. Neighbors around Elma Elementary had protested earlier proposals to include their homes in the latest annexation proposal so the city took their properties out.
King’s letter cites the city’s current efforts to annex a good chunk of the areas west of the city of Elma out to Schouweiler Road. The city has slowly been building up to the annexation process over the past few years, since the process dragged out in 2011 and never went anywhere. This time, the council has the votes necessary to proceed — and guarantees in writing by many of the land owners that they won’t oppose the process.
The Elma City Council voted 3-2 in early April to move forward with the first steps involved in that annexation plan.
“We’ve been informed of your plans to annex property on the south side of Mont- Elma Road, which does not include Elma Elementary,” King wrote in his letter. “We are making a formal request that you would also consider including the Elma School District in your annexation plan. This property contains the Elma Elementary School, the district office, and approximately 25 acres directly west of the elementary school.
“We would like to suggest you include out fastpitch and baseball fields, which are on the east side of Highway, across from Dow Chemical. If this were to occur, all of the Elma School District property would be within the City of Elma boundaries.”
King said he thinks it makes sense of all of Elma’s schools to be within city limits, especially in dealing with law enforcement when the need arises.
“It would simplify things for us to deal with one agency,” King said. ” But I don’t know if they’ve discussed it at city council or not.”
Elma Mayor Dave Osgood said that the council had talked about the idea, but not taken any action. Osgood said it may be possible to include the schools in the annexation proposal, but leave out neighbors who are against it.
“They’d like to be part of the annexation, but that’s as far as we’ve gone,” Osgood said.