Galien Township Schools split approved by Berrien RESA

Published 9:26 am Tuesday, July 28, 2015

BERRIEN SPRINGS — Galien Township Schools will be split at Gardner Road, according to written order approved Monday by the Berrien Regional Education Service Agency (Berrien RESA) Board of Education.

Taxpayers residing east of Gardner Road will become members of Buchanan Community Schools. Taxpayers residing west of Gardner Road will become members of the River Valley School District.

The Berrien RESA Board voted unanimously to divide the Galien District after hosting an open meeting for Galien residents on Monday, July 6 and after having received the Gardner Road division recommendation from the Galien Township Schools Board of Education.

No one from the public spoke against the proposed Gardner split at the July 6 meeting.

The written order will be submitted to the Michigan State Board of Education. Both River Valley School District and Buchanan Community Schools will have the opportunity to comply or appeal the order — a decision that must be made by Aug. 25.

The Berrien RESA board’s ruling comes several years after the Galien school board voted to close its doors to students in June of 2012 as a result of declining enrollment.

“Throughout the entire process, the Berrien RESA Board and the Galien Board of Education have included both of the neighboring school districts in conversations about the new district lines,” said Dr. Kevin Ivers, Berrien RESA superintendent and acting Galien Superintendent. “I don’t anticipate there being any issues of concern from either Buchanan or River Valley. Under Schools of Choice, students may attend any school within Berrien County. It is everyone’s goal to make sure that Galien’s students have a great start to their school year and feel comfortable no matter where they will be attending this fall.”

According to Ivers, it is anticipated that the State Board of Education will ratify the Berrien RESA order by January 2016. At that time, Galien Township Schools will officially be dissolved.

After the school district is dissolved, residents will be assessed the tax rates of either Buchanan Community Schools or River Valley School District depending in which school district they reside. In addition, the Galien Township School Dis­trict boundaries will continue to exist as a taxing entity until its outstanding bonds mature in 2021. The exact implementation date for the new taxing structure is yet to be determined.