Consolidation rules move forward

Siloam Springs, Ark (March 4, 2004) — (Little Rock-AP) -- The state Education Board is moving toward adopting emergency rules to govern administrative consolidation of school districts with fewer than 350 students. The measures likely will go into effect after the state board reviews recent changes made to address legislative concerns. The consolidation affects 57 school districts, which have until April first to consolidate with or be annexed by other districts. The administrations must be combined by July first. Legislative leaders said yesterday they were generally pleased with a rewrite of rules first presented to them last week. Some legislators worried then that the guidelines would give the state Board of Education too much leeway to ignore voluntary consolidation petitions and to partner districts as it sees fit.