Some of the issues the Legislature’s Rural Caucus have distributed that need to be addressed before it will support consolidation. Ones that are reflected in a plan presented by a legislative working group are starred.

Timeline: Final consolidation by July 1, 2009*

Minimum district size: 1,200, with consideration for regional differentiation.

Local vote: One must be taken*

Specific savings: Must give recommendations to new districts on cutting costs, not just “arbitrary percentages based on cuts.”

SADs and unions: Must be allowed to exist

School choice: Must be recognized and maintained in the new district and include independent and private schools.*

Penalties and incentives: Penalize those that don’t participate*, and reward those that do

School closing: There must be a “super majority” vote in the district to close a school*

Mandates: Must be re-evaluated and eliminated where possible

Budget transparency: Clear and simple explanations must be given on where money is spent*

High schools: It should not be necessary for every new district to have a high school

Other issues: Provide a guarantee that the Essential Programs and Services and labor market issues will be examined next year.

*(The working group’s plan calls for a 1,200-student benchmark in rural areas and 2,500 students in urban areas.)

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