Monday evening's vote was a key step to securing the future

Editorial: In Monday evening's vote between the Hampton-Dumont and CAL Community Boards of Education, both sides took the right and just step of moving towards a conciliatory solution in the whole grade sharing agreement.

While it may seem like a symbolic gesture as the past few months have made the vote appear inevitable, the districts can now officially plan for the 2018-19 school year.

The agreement got off to a positive start during Monday's meeting. With both boards together, no one voiced any arguments or opposition. Board members did not sit CAL on one side and H-D on the other, but rather sat mixed amongst each other. Following the decisive, unanimous vote, laughs and cheers were exchanged, celebrating the end of a nearly two-year process.

Perhaps more important than passing the agreement was the jovial nature in which it was done. For months, the two boards have done their best to come to an agreement that is both fair to the communities and in the best interest of the students. Although some opposition and conflict arose along the way, the boards are to be commended on their ef-fort to put emotions aside and come to a suitable agreement. The enthusiasm shown by the boards should instill confidence in staff, students, parents and community members that this is an agreement that will benefit both sides.

Furthermore, it shows that the leadership not only worked together to craft a suitable agreement, but is dedicated to continuing to make tough decisions as a unified body.

It's important to understand a lot of work is still ahead for the students, teachers, administrators, and community members in all parts of the new whole grade sharing district.

Here's a few key things we've seen over the past few weeks and months.

- It was a positive step to see both districts approve the decision with a unanimous vote. Unlike the battle over football, junior high football, and other sports over the past few years, it was important to present a unified front.

- It was a positive step to end the bickering between both boards. Making decisions like this are never easy, but in this case, we believe it was the right one. Sometimes we have to swallow our pride and do what's best for all involved. Decisions like this aren't per-sonal. Addressing your concerns in an open, honest fashion is important. By working together to find the best solution for both sides, it winds up building a stronger relationship between both boards.

- We also found it refreshing that understanding the cost involved with rebranding with a new school name and logo, an estimated $230,000-plus, that both sides agreed it was best to keep what was on hand and look to make chang-es during the regular replace-ment cycle.

- We've seen an emphasis ensuring that the CAL building remains a cornerstone of the Latimer community. The CAL board recently approved a series of construction projects that would renovate classrooms to include new windows and lighting, as well as install a centralized office for convenience and safety.

- CAL students have been given a chance to keep their identity. For the first two years of the agreement, graduating seniors are allowed to have diplomas printed with "CAL." The first year's graduating class will feature a valedictorian and salutatorian from each school.

But there's plenty of heavy lifting ahead. As the CAL students are beginning to be integrated into the H-D middle school setting, it will be im-portant to build a friendly, welcoming environment.

We don't expect this to be a major concern. H-D students and faculty have been preparing for this throughout the school year and will be ready this fall to welcome CAL.