House Education dismissed a plan Wednesday to close 30 school districts, arguing that consolidation is best left in the hands of local school boards.
The committee voted 12-3 to kill HB 1182, a measure that would have raised the minimum district size to 195.
The bill's prime sponsor, Rep. Jim Bolin, R-Canton, cited clustered school districts in Turner and Aurora counties as examples of schools that could make more efficient use of taxpayer dollars. He acknowledged opposition to the bill, but insisted that forced consolidation remains a topic lawmakers should discuss, especially in tough economic times.
House Education Vice Chair Bill Van Gerpen, R-Tyndall, opposed the legislation.
“I think we've seen forced consolidation just doesn't really work,” Van Gerpen said. “I think that if we just sit back and let the local people take action that this thing will resolve itself.”
The committee took action today, but the majority of the testimony was offered Monday (read more here). ASBSD opposed the legislation.