Consolidating school districts would become easier if a measure that made it through the Illinois House becomes law. It would allow school boards to dissolve districts with less than 750 students. Voters usually have to approve a referendum before a district can dissolve, which prepares it to combine with another district.
Jehan Gordon-Booth, a Democrat from Peoria, says mergers allow school districts to save money. She says that leads to better results for students and the community.
“They may want to tailor their education needs to the things that would fit for the economic development of those areas, all the while giving students the balance and the basics that they need as well,” Gordon says.
The measure would also allow districts that don't share a border to merge. They would have to be less than 30 miles apart, and prove merger attempts with a neighboring district failed. Another piece of the measure allows districts that don't share a border to merge, as long as they're less than 30 miles away. They would also have to prove merger attempts with neighboring districts were unsuccessful. Opponents say they're worried about fewer jobs being available if more districts combine. But they were outnumbered in the House, which overwhelmingly sent the plan to the Senate.