Word on the Street: OC and TH Consolidation

Voters will take to the polls in November to decide the fate of Oakland-Craig and Tekamah-Herman schools staying where they are or consolidating. Kat Country Hub decided to see what some people think of the schools consolidating. Here are the opinions:


Cindy Schorn If it will give kids a good education and is financially a better choice then I think it’s a good thing

Kay Marie Throener I love the idea of my daughter going to a smaller school. I dont want her getting lost in a class where the teacher is unable to help all the students if they need it. More one on one teacher to student.


Jody Davis Its a good thing I don’t have a close personal stake in it!but here goes no!

Krisa Brown We are in favor of it. Looking towards the future.

Lauri Bundy Canarsky Denise, you and I both are from Tekamah & Oakland. We both understand the conflict that happens. Left to their own devices,the younger kids would adjust if they were merged, but we both know that the adults would find conflict, no matter what happens. Over 25 years since Oakland & Craig merged, and we still that “the Oakland people” & “the Craig people”. I’m sure Tekamah & Herman have the same situation.

Jasmine Haeffner Helzer I started elementary the year Lyons-Decatur joined. We seen our Decatur class mates twice a year. Once on our field trip and once during our track & field day. Unlike our previous consolidations this is for high school only. I feel there are many questions that need to be answered, and still details that need to be discussed.

Debbie Meyer Krutilek Consolidation is never easy and no one likes to see change. This plan has been researched and discussed for long enough. Time for the communities to make their decision and move forward, one way or another.
I was a student during the consolidation of schools in the early 70’s. At that time the decision was made to be proactive, instead of reactive.Consolidating two schools takes lots of cooperation and dedication from Administrators, board members, teachers and community members. Our kids will make us proud no matter where they attend classes. It’s up to the voters to decide what they feel is best for our youth. The bottom line is “School is for Kids”.

Delwin Anderson Just my opinion…I feel when it is time to vote on things like this, it should be for property owners only…tired of taking the weight from those who don’t contribute but still get all the benefits. Just sayin..I know t doesn’t work that way…but you asked!
Leann Canarsky Jorgensen I am on the fence about it! I know that things need to change with the times, but I really like the fact that my kids are in town for school. They can walk if needed, & I’m not real crazy about highway 32 on a good day, so I cannot imagine what winter will be like! I wish we could all be one district, share administration & still have our own schools in town. Does that make sense?

Susan Reynolds-Seery Both my kids will be out of school so me it won’t matter, but I believe what is better for our kids is what should matter. I came from a BIG school, Millard South in Omaha and graduated with about 400 kids, my kids now have like 7 kids in each class and are getting the attention they need. I just hope whatever the decision it’s for the KIDS!

Tami Friedl Hovendick I am not for it! It’s not like they’re consolidating all of the grades and putting them into one school they’re still going to have these schools open even with the Elementary in there so what’s the point of just consolidating the high schools.

School Consolidation Issue: Vote Responsibly, Based on Facts

As November 8th looms, more and more people are voicing their opinions about the possibility of Tekamah-Herman and Oakland-Craig schools consolidating.

I am still undecided as to how I will vote. Upon deciding, I will not share my decision. Voting is a private matter. And, in this case, I believe it is better to remain as such.

There are times social media is a way to gain knowledge, catch up with friends, share pictures with others, and so on.

It is too bad it isn’t used that way all of the time.

Unfortunately, there are those using social media to state their version of facts, some of which don’t even pertain to the issue at hand.

I have read some posts I find appalling. I have to wonder if those saying such things have even attended a meeting to hear both sides of the issue.

I do believe there are many individuals that are of one mind, regardless of the facts. This is sad considering the importance of the issue and especially all involved.

I have also seen many “sponsored” pages on facebook. There are several posts stating alleged facts of the situation and what happens when a school loses its’ high school.

I don’t know who is posting such statements, but I am curious as to where they are obtaining their information.

People have asked, but to no avail.

I read these posts, but I don’t let the negativity and uninformed statements play a part of my decision.

I choose to stick to the facts.

I hope everyone else does.

This may be the most important local vote to be cast in years.

Be responsible and be informed!



School Consolidation: Vote Responsibly!

School consolidation is hitting new highs and lows. Some believe since Tekamah-Herman and Oakland-Craig are alleged rivals, the kids will fight all the time if they are in the same school.

My opinion, kids learn from what they hear.

Education is the MOST important issue.

I don’t even know how I will vote. But, I do know, I will stick to the facts.

Here is my quote after I read so much about weather, kids fighting, and so on.

The most important issue here is education. I went to school in both Tekamah-Herman and Oakland-Craig…..my family moved to Oakland when I was starting my sophomore year. I was blessed to attend school in Tekamah all of my years prior. Upon coming to Oakland, I was nervous, believing the rivalry would hurt me and kids wouldn’t like me. That was NEVER an issue. I was and am blessed to have life long friends from both schools. I was on honor roll in both schools, thanks to very dedicated teachers. This is a very difficult decision for all. But, kids aren’t going to be fighting to where a sheriff has to be called. That type of behavior should never be encouraged. This is an education and financial issue. Base votes on facts, not hypothetical issues.

Kats’ Korner: Memorable First Day of School and Consolidation

Consolidation of Oakland-Craig and Tekamah-Herman Schools is a hot topic in each community.

There are many inaccurate accounts of the situation being stated from each town involved. I heard someone so upset stating Tekamah-Herman were coming to Oakland-Craig to school. I have heard others say the students from each school will not get along. This came from parents. I certainly hope parents aren’t encouraging their children to be unaccepting of other children.I find this so disappointing.

The bottom line is: ALL of us are responsible to do what is best for the children, for their education and their future. We owe it to them. They are the citizens of tomorrow, our future leaders.

I recently walked through the Burt County Fair Parade, as President of the Oakland City Council. I had many friends and family walk through with me, showing my dedication to Oakland and the community. I am running for election in November. I wanted to see people first-hand and let them know how much I care for each and every one of them.

At the end of the parade, I had a person whom I had never met, ask me what my position was on the school consolidation issue. I was quite surprised by the question, but I knew my answer immediately. I kindly told her that at this point, I was undecided. I want to take more time to review each side of the issue before making a definite decision. I also told her I think this has to be so difficult for every person on both sides of the proposal.

Since then, I have given in a great deal of thought. I do believe at some point in time, school consolidation will happen for both schools. This will be determined on the amount of state aid available to schools and how well a school can manage based upon their budget. I hope and pray that each district puts education for each student on the front burner.

If each school can provide the best of education for each child without consolidation, then I am for that. But, if that is not a possibility, then consolidation is a must.

I also want to share a memory of my own. I grew up in Tekamah. I went attended Tekamah-Herman schools through my Freshman year. Then, we moved to Oakland. I began my Sophomore year at Oakland-Craig Schools. Those that remember both schools in the year of 1978, you will remember how competitive they were in sports. They were huge rivals back then.

I was terrified to start school in Oakland-Craig. I need not worry so much. I was welcomed and made many friends whom I am still friends with today.

I also stayed friends with my Tekamah-Herman class and the teachers and staff there. I am invited back to every class reunion and just attended our 35 year reunion. I also attended my 35 year O-C class reunion the same day. It is a juggling act, but I want to see everyone! They are a big part of my life.

Basically, I went through my own school consolidation and all went fine.

If the voters approve a consolidation, I don’t worry about students getting along. I know both districts have good, caring people and each of them will come together for the sake of the children.

The children are what is most important. 



School Consolidation

Folks, it is a tough time. Decisions to be made about the local schools combining or not. I recently read a post that stated Tekamah would have to come to Oakland to school. That is not the case.

IF the schools consolidate, and that is an IF based on voting in November, which both school districts have to approve to move forward, there would be a new school for upper grades at an approved location. Elementary schools in each district would remain as they are. Please be informed of the facts, not the gossip. The future of generations to come depend on the facts, and their education is what counts.

They are the future leaders of this country.

Oakland-Craig Board of Education July 7 Meeting Minutes


A special meeting of the Oakland-Craig Board of Education was held Thursday, July 7, 2016 in the Gym at the Oakland-Craig Elementary Building. President Thiele called the meeting to order at 7:31 p.m. and made reference to the Open Meetings Law. Administrators present were Joe Peitzmeier, Rusty Droescher and Andrew Offner.



Roll Call was called with the following members present: Anderson, Brett Johnson, Kiley Johnson, Magnusson, Pille, Ray, Richards, Schmidt and Thiele.



Magnusson moved that the Agenda be approved as presented. Kiley Johnson seconded the motion. There was no discussion. Voting results were: For Motion-9; Against Motion-0; Other-0.



President Thiele welcomed approximately 200 visitors.



Superintendent Smith, Tekamah Herman Superintendent Gross, Cody Wickham from D A Davidson, Jerry McCall, and Don Prochaska, Steven Riley and Douglas Hauze from Prochaska facilitated a community forum regarding the possible school consolidation. Following the presentation, community members were given an opportunity to address the board. Thirteen community members spoke.


There being no further business of this meeting, President Thiele adjourned this meeting at 11:10 p.m.






Julie Ehlers


Oakland-Craig Board of Education Special Meeting Agenda




Thursday, July 7, 2006 @ 7:30 p.m.


To be held in the gym in the Oakland-Craig Elementary Building.

The purpose of the meeting is to provide information and to seek input concerning the possible school consolidation with Tekamah Herman.

A copy of the agenda, kept continuously current, is available for inspection at the Office of the Superintendent of Schools during regular business hours.




Call the Meeting to Order at _______p.m. – President Pete Thiele

  1. Note the Nebraska Open Meetings Law


  1. Notice of this meeting was properly posted and/or published by advance Public Notice in accordance with Board Policy #2008 with notice and advance agenda given to the President of the Board and all members prior to the meeting date.




________________moved that ­­­____________________ is absent, excused.


_____________________ seconded the motion.




Roll Call vote:   _____ Anderson   _____B. Johnson   _____ K. Johnson     _____ Magnusson   _____ Pille

______Ray ____Richards   ______Schmidt   ______Thiele


Voting Results:   For Motion_________ Against Motion__________ Other _________




_____ Anderson   _____B. Johnson   _____ K. Johnson     _____ Magnusson   _____ Pille

______Ray ____Richards   ______Schmidt   ______Thiele




_____________________ moved that the agenda be approved as presented.


________________ seconded the motion.




Roll Call Vote: _____ Anderson   _____B. Johnson   _____ K. Johnson     _____ Magnusson   _____ Pille ______Ray ____Richards   ______Schmidt   ______Thiele


Voting Results:     For Motion _____     Against Motion______   Other ______








There being no further business on the agenda of this meeting, President Thiele adjourned this meeting at _________p.m.



To Consolidate or Not to Consolidate, That is the Question

I have not personally made a decision on how I will vote on Oakland-Craig and Tekamah-Herman Schools consolidating or not. Below is just a brief thought on the subject and how to come to your own decision. Please remember to thank a school board member if you see one from either district. This has been a very difficult task for each of them and they deserve our appreciation.

“I don’t envy the position the local school boards, Oakland-Craig and Tekamah-Herman, are facing. With the prospect of consolidating two schools, or maybe not consolidating, many things are to be taken into account. I don’t doubt that the board members are taking everything into account. This will also be an issue for the voters of each school district. When deciding on how to vote on such an important issue, please take into account BOTH sides of the issue. If need be, go to a meeting. They are open to the public and will provide the information needed to make a decision. Generations of children to come will be affected by the outcome. Their education is what’s important.” Denise Gilliland Editor and Chief, Kat Country Hub.

Social Speaks: Thoughts on Local Schools Consolidating

As editor, I wanted to hear what people have to say about local schools, such as Tekamah-Herman, Oakland-Craig, Lyons-Decatur Northeast and Bancroft-Rosalie, possibly consolidating. Below are several very interesting, informed and insightful responses.

Leann Canarsky Jorgensen If we have to consolidate, I wish they had done it with Lyons when the option was there! Not real crazy about my kids having to travel out of town.
 Leann Canarsky Jorgensen Not sure how the people of Decatur would have felt about coming to Oakland, Tekamah would be closer.
Amy Wheaton Why if oakland and lyons went together would the school be in oakland?

Leann Canarsky Jorgensen I always thought it would be ideal to have one half way between on hwy 77.

Amy Wheaton I’m so glad my kids are out of school…small towns are disappearing…and so are the schools. Sad to say!

Leann Canarsky Jorgensen I wasn’t meaning that it would be in Oakland, I was meaning that it would be further for Decatur if they merged & went half way??? Wouldn’t it be ideal to meet half way than to choose towns? Would you expect it to be in Lyons?

Leann Canarsky Jorgensen I’m hoping my kids are out of school before anything like this happens, but we still have 9 years left in school! I hate to see any small town school close….we love our school & the convenience of it being a few blocks from home!

Amy Wheaton No not at all! I thought that’s what you meant since you stated you didn’t want your kids to have to travel!
Leann Canarsky Jorgensen I would be much more comfortable going 3 1/2 miles on hwy 77 than I would going 7 miles on 32 if we had to consolidate with T-H. That highway just stinks in the winter! Or even worse, out into the country!

Cara Schulzkump Raabe I’m so glad that my daughter graduates this year. But I still worry about all the kids. In a perfect world, right?

Leann Canarsky Jorgensen In a perfect world, every one will be happy!! Sadly, that will never happen! We need to keep the best interests of our kids & their education in mind & stop worrying about sports! 

Krisa Brown The towns of Decatur, Craig, and soon to be closed Herman have already lost their schools. So those families along with all the country people have been driving or riding the bus for decades. I understand that no town wants to lose their school house, but things change whether we want them to or not. I think people need to look at community on a larger scale than just their own town. The local small town rivalries are gone. No one has to agree, this is just my opinion.

Leann Canarsky Jorgensen I just don’t agree with putting more kids on the road…..

Krisa Brown Logan View has been doing it for years.

Leann Canarsky Jorgensen I realize that, & I see what your point is, I just think if they consolidate with T-H, I would probably choose to put my kids in The L-D school instead…..just my choice. Hwy 32 is a terrible road. When we lived in Uehling, we drove our kids to school in Oakland, instead of Logan View & when we lived out by Craig, we chose O-C over T-H ( yes, whoever owned that house chose the T-H school district for less taxes when they were given the choice). I guess any way you look at it, no one will be happy, but I as a parent, have the option to open enroll. I am not opposed to my kids traveling a short distance, but I also need to consider their safety.

Sarah Gramke Completely against. We are a strong school, and doing well financially. There is no “need” for consolidation. There is a need for more classes to be added, but with technology, distance learning with community schools would solve that. If we consolidate we will be a small B school, and not that winning is everything but we will not compete with other big schools, will not get playing time, and will have to try out for everything. Also hwy 32 would be a horrible road to commute on for our kids. I could go on and on with other reasons why its not a good idea. If you look at all of the facts, the negatives of consolidation definitely outnumber the positives. Hope the community members who are against consolidation continue to attend meetings and speak up for what is best for our kids, and our community as a whole.
Leann Canarsky Jorgensen Amen!!!! I cannot imagine my kids traveling on hwy 32 or out in the country to Bertha!! No thanks!! I love our school!!

Kris M Feauto Wow I think that would be a really bad idea.

Teresa Tobin I know I’m not from O-C but just a question to think about. Financially you may be doing great now- what about 10-20 years from now is O-C growing? Are young couples staying in town and raising their kids? I know I’ve seen small town schools here in MO. That did not consolidate and were forced too 5-10 years later cause they didn’t have enough kids! Just a thought!

Sarah Gramke Oakland-Craig is growing. Young people are staying or returning.

Cherry Hanak Why don’t they just build a new high school building , and tear down that old ugly one.

Kristi Bacon How many of u r paying land taxes in the Oakland school district. We have two farms in this district. We can not afford to pay anymore. We r at almost a 100 dollar an acre. OC needs to forget about building n look at other options

Jasmine Haeffner Helzer What should have been done is a school at Bertha. I could care less about sports as that is not what is going to pay the bills when these kids get older. Education is first and foremost. The outlook for rural communities are to hopefully sustain and the likely hood of growth is small. When looking at the numbers there is no tax benefit for a Tekamah-Oakland consolidation all we can hope for is better education.

David Mallette I always thought a merger with LV when the opportunity was there. Good highway to travel…already a new building in existance….I don’t feel a new building for the town and tax payers is the way to go. Oakland will always be my home town, but 10 years from now who knows what young families will be in town to support a new building.

David Mallette When it comes to sports…the BEST athletes make the teams…yes you have to try out and either make a team or your don’t.

Cherry Hanak I don’t even live there , just saying , how many years can people talk about this , nothing ever happens, just saying, again
Susan Reynolds-Seery Living 5 miles out of town is bad enough. My kids ride the bus, so no I don’t drive them, but just recently they got stuck in the snow and was almost 45 minutes late to school. I couldn’t imagine them having to travel farther. I hope they graduate before this goes down or we might be going to West Point and I don’t want to take my kids from their friends, but their safety is more important.

Leann Canarsky Jorgensen I agree Susan!! I’m hoping this will be years down the road & my kids are out of school too! If everyone would stop complaining about this school or that school & worry about their education, it would be a small miracle! No one wants their kids to travel, but if they have to, wouldn’t the shorter, safer route be best? 
Susan Reynolds-Seery Yes definitely! It’s not the first time they have gotten stuck either. I worry about them every time they go out. We have a great bus driver and I trust him, it’s the weather and roads I don’t trust. I hope in the end it works best for the kids.

Abby Simonsen As a young child I rode the bus from 7 am till right up till school time every morning. Back in the day when we had snow on the ground from Halloween till the end of March. I have so many fun memories of this free time with other kids. Weather you travel two miles or ten, getting the education required to succeed in this wildly changing world is what is important. Sports teaches discipline to fight and succeed when you are out in the big bad world. Consolidation only makes sense if the dollars it takes to run an education establishment are being spent efficiently.

Kats’ Korner: Is Consolidation What’s Best for the Students?

There are certain aspects of a small town a person can identify with, whether it is the culture, a historical location, certain events held throughout the year or simply how well the community is maintained.

Most small towns, such as Oakland, Lyons and Tekamah, share a common structure that educates our children, a school.

For quite some time now, local school boards have been faced with the daunting task of whether to consolidate or build a new school.

Personally, I don’t envy those trying to do what is in the best interests of the districts they serve. I do, however, admire them for the many extra hours they have devoted to this issue.

State aid seems to be at the root of the problem, or lack thereof. There has been a significant decrease for all three school districts in Burt County since 2014/15. Tekamah-Herman received $13,219.79 less than last year, Oakland-Craig took a large loss of $67,721.01 and Lyons-Decatur Northeast also took a huge loss of $53,106.59.

The decrease in state aid undoubtedly hurts a school, which has a trickle down effect, hurting teachers and students.

In my opinion, every child deserves the best education possible. If this means consolidating with another school so this can be accomplished, so be it.

I will go on record and say that I don’t want this to happen. I don’t want any community to lose their high school. If this happens, I hope each community can keep their elementary schools. At this point, only consolidating high schools is being considered.

There will be many more discussions on this matter in the future. The outcome may be decided by voting yes or no on next November’s ballot.

Please stay informed on the issue. School board meetings are always open to the public.

Remember, a child’s future is at stake.


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