Blagojevich's school district reorganization bill wins final
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[MAY 6, 2006]
SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich's proposal
to make it easier for school districts to merge with each other to
improve operations gained final legislative approval Wednesday and
headed to the governor's desk for his signature.
Senate Bill 2795 was sponsored by state Sen. George P. Shadid,
D-Peoria, and state Rep. Michael K. Smith, D-Canton, and passed
unanimously in both chambers.
"This legislation is the most significant and substantive school
consolidation reform in more than 20 years," Blagojevich said. "It
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
work, and I look forward to signing this bill."
"This bill will
help move school consolidation along without the roadblocks of the
'all 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 local control."
"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 Illinois School Code also prohibits
some types of 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 the governor's