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Joint study board supports co-located schools on Range

Members from each of the three Iron Range school districts proposing a co-located school in Mountain Iron voiced their continued support Tuesday for the ambitious project.

The group approved a statement of support. The joint study board is made up of School Board members from Mountain Iron-Buhl, Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia school districts. Six committees have been created to study curriculum, extracurricular activities, facilities, financing, transportation and joint powers governance. Members include School Board members, superintendents, teachers, parents, professional experts and residents.

The roughly $110 million, 325,000-square-foot proposed school for grades 7-12 would share teachers, an administration and policies, but would have separate athletic teams and other extracurricular activities where they already exist. Legislation has been approved recently that would divert taconite taxes for projects such as this. State equalization aid would also be tapped to pay for the school.

Years of declining enrollment, increased educational opportunities for students and aging buildings are motivators behind the controversial proposal. Opponents to the project have said they fear the loss of hometown high schools will harm the economies and the identities of each town.

For more information on the project, see