Superintendent News & Views
September 10, 2017


As we head into the "final push" leading up to the public referendum next week that will determine whether the Gladbrook-Reinbeck Community School District will continue to exist, I want to ask district patrons to examine the photograph that accompanies this article.

This photo was first published in the WATERLOO-CEDAR FALLS COURIER as part of that paper's coverage of Gladbrook-Reinbeck's Class A semifinal football game vs. St. Ansgar on November 11, 2016. I decided to request the rights to republish this photo on my blog and in the NORTHERN SUN PRINT and REINBECK COURIER because I think this photo perfectly illustrates what I'd like to talk about in today's column.

The picture shows Thomas Mussig (from Gladbrook) giving a "final push" to Parker Bown (from Reinbeck) to ensure Parker would make it into the end zone for the touchdown. Did Parker get more praise, applause and accolades because he scored the touchdown? Probably. But the REBELS scored the touchdown and EVERYONE on the team benefited from these two teammates working together. Of course, the Rebels won this game and went on to take the state championship one example of the many awesome achievements in athletics, academics, and fine arts earned by Gladbrook-Reinbeck students over the years.

Could Thomas and a team comprised only of Gladbrook students have won a state championship on their own? One can only guess. Could Parker and a "Reinbeck-only" team have accomplished a state title on their own? None of us can say for sure. But I think most people would agree it's reasonable to say that the student athletes from all parts of the G-R school district Gladbrook, Lincoln, the rural areas, Morrison and Reinbeck have had more opportunities and greater success working together than they would have had working as separate entities.

This partnership Gladbrook-Reinbeck which has existed since 1998 as a merged district and for many more years under whole-grade sharing and athletic sharing, has served its citizens well. G-R is a high-achieving school district with an incredible record of accomplishments. G-R has done its job in providing outstanding educational opportunities for its students and preparing them for the future while maintaining one of the lowest tax rates in the area. I think most folks would say that G-R has done a better job of preparing students for the future by working TOGETHER than they ever could have done working as separate districts. Yet here we are, about to vote on a possible dissolution.

If the majority of the votes are "YES" votes, the Gladbrook-Reinbeck School District will cease to exist on July 1, 2018. The territory and students will be split as is shown on the map depicted on the ballot. Grundy Center, North Tama, GMG, Hudson and Dike-New Hartford will inherit Gladbrook-Reinbeck's assets and liabilities, and the current G-R students will be absorbed into those systems. The G-R teachers and staff will lose their jobs.

If "NO" wins the majority of the votes, Gladbrook-Reinbeck will continue to be a school district.

The dissolution commission and school board have had multiple public meetings and public hearings, giving citizens the opportunity to ask questions and provide their comments. For those of you who couldn't make it to these meetings and hearings, I hope I've done an adequate job making myself available to answer your questions. Now, it's time to vote.

Every vote is important! Polls are open on September 12 from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. New voters may register to vote on-site at the polling place just prior to voting.

As you visit the polls, think of the photo showing Thomas giving Parker that "final push" into the end zone. These two young men respected each other and worked together, and EVERYONE benefitted. During the "final push" leading up to the election, please show respect for EVERYONE involved in this process, EVEN IF THEIR OPINION DIFFERS FROM YOURS. Every eligible voter has an equal opportunity to influence the outcome. Please RESPECT your fellow district patrons, and please RESPECT the election results. If we truly want what is best for our students, we'll all show each other this respect as a way of modeling appropriate behavior for the young people in our lives. If we can do that, our students will learn a valuable lesson regardless of the outcome.

I invite you to join the conversation by leaving comments on my blog at and/or following me on Twitter at @DavidRobertHill.


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