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Thu June 28, 2012
Classrooms First Commission Approves Consolidation Report
An advisory panel studying Illinois school consolidation wants to abolish costly merger incentives and give districts more flexibility.
The Classrooms First Commission's report was provided to the Associated Press before it approved it 12-0 Thursday. It now goes to Governor Pat Quinn. The panel headed by Lt. Governor Sheila Simon found that
consolidation incentives under current law would mean even limited consolidation would cost $3 billion.
The plan recommends replacing those incentives by 2017 with targeted inducements. Districts are also hampered by the slow progress of state-subsidized school construction. The report recommends allowing a vote on consolidation to take effect only when state help arrives for new buildings. Another provision would allow non-contiguous districts to merge even if a district between them resists, which current law prohibits.