Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bill Passage Prompts Schools to Consider Consolidation

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bill Passage Prompts Schools to Consider Consolidation

Article excerpt

It wasn't too long ago that some legislators predicted hometown pride would keep the majority of small Oklahoma school districts from ever even thinking about joining with another.

That was before a $35 million carrot was tied to the string.

Now, about 70 school districts have asked the Oklahoma Department of Education to conduct studies on consolidation or annexation and a few actually have scheduled consolidation elections.

``I think there will be a lot more once the Legislature adjourns and the local school officials see just exactly what the new law provides,'' said Jack Harrel, the deputy state superintendent of schools who has been dealing with the consolidation requests. ``They want to see just what is available and what they need to do.''

Rep. Carolyn Thompson, D-Norman, chairwoman of the Oklahoma House of Representatives Education Committee, agreed with Harrel.

``I think you will see just a flood of districts seeking to consolidate,'' she said.

Oklahoma now has approximately 605 school districts. Harrel said four districts consolidated in the past year.

The Legislature is nearing the end of its regular session with final action still to come on the major appropriation bills, including the one for common education. School officials not only are waiting to see how much money they will receive, but are wondering what changes in school laws still might be made.

The Legislature's special session, which adjourned just over a week ago, took some major steps to deal with school consolidation. One was the $35 million the Legislature took from the state's Rainy Day Fund to help the first 250 school districts finance voluntary consolidations. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.