State education officials are predicting that more rural Iowa school districts will consolidate during this school year as they face budget problems due to declining enrollment. The Deep River-Millersburg district in eastern Iowa is one of those districts — with only 49 students in pre-school through sixth grade.

Superintendent Alan Jensen says the students in 7th through 12th grade already have the choice of attending two neighboring schools to finish their education. Jensen says the number of students dictated that they had to do something different. District residents will vote next month on whether to merge with the nearby English Valleys schools.

Jensen says that address the concerns the parents of the elementary students have. Jensen says the parents wanted to continue with single section classrooms, and they want to consolidate instead of having the combination classrooms. If voters approve the merger, the two districts combined would have around 600 students.