The Senate rejected a sweeping change to consolidation incentives Tuesday, opting instead to stay consistent with the incentive program passed last year as a part of a host of education reforms.
Sen. Ed Olson, R-Mitchell, told Senators that the change closes a loophole in the current system that allows districts to receive incentive money without receiving students from a reorganizing district.
House Bill 1051 goes one step further, though, by suggesting incentives would only be paid based on the number of students any one district receives. As a result, the total amount of consolidation incentives would be reduced dramatically.
Sen. Jim Hundstad, D-Bath, asked lawmakers to defeat the bill. He said the mandatory consolidation law passed last year has started consolidation discussions around the state and incentives should remain in place to help ease the transition for consolidating districts.
The bill was defeated on a 22-13 vote, but several legislators expect the idea to resurface before the end of legislative session.