Blagojevich's school district reorganization bill wins approval in
the House and goes back to the Senate for final approval
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[APRIL 27, 2006]
SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich's proposal
to make it easier for school districts to merge with each other to
improve operations passed unanimously Wednesday in the House of
Representatives and will go back to the Senate for final approval.
Senate Bill 2795, sponsored by state Senator George P. Shadid,
D-Peoria, and state Rep. Michael K. Smith, D-Canton, returns to the
Illinois Senate for final consideration.
"Today we are one step
closer to passing the most significant and substantive school
consolidation reform in more than 20 years," Blagojevich said. "This
bill will give local school districts much greater flexibility to
consolidate, and voters, who know their schools best, will have much
greater control over how their school districts are run. I want to
thank Senator Shadid and Representative Smith for all their hard
"This bill will help move school consolidation along
without the roadblocks of the Ďall or nothing' approach," Shadid
said. "There is additional language that will protect school
districts who don't want to consolidate, while allowing those
districts that do want to consolidate the go-ahead to do so. This is
not written to force school districts to consolidate. This is
permissive legislation that allows school districts to do so or not
do so if they wish, without reprisal. This is a true example of
"I am very pleased, with this legislation, that we will be able
to address some of the issues that have made consolidation
difficult, if not impossible, in the past," Smith said. "This is a
win-win for our schools and the children they educate."
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Senate Bill 2795 streamlines the reorganization process and could
help districts save administrative costs, provide increased
educational opportunities and create a more unified curriculum
between middle and high schools. The legislation requires that any
reorganization be approved by voters in each affected district. The
bill standardizes the multiple different reorganization processes
and makes them more efficient.
Most dramatically, the legislation creates entirely new types of
school district reorganizations, to give greater local control.
Under current law, sometimes one school district can block a merger
that would affect multiple districts; this bill makes it possible
for those districts that want to merge to do so, while allowing
districts that want to remain independent to stay independent. The
current code also prohibits some types of school districts from
merging with each other, and Senate Bill 2795 removes many of those
restrictions, to provide for even greater local choice.
School district reorganization, which is strictly a matter of
local choice, can be used by local voters to improve the ability of
school districts to develop and implement quality programs for
students, offset student enrollment declines, and provide a more
cost-efficient and stable school district.
[News release from governor's office]