State Board of Ed OK’s first Act 46 divorce, warn others could come
published 18.09.2020 22:15
Margaret MacLean, a former State Board member and leading anti-merger activist, said that while several districts are likely to follow Halifax and Readsboro’s lead, the floodgates may not necessarily be opened, since the law appears to require all parties to vote in favor of dissolution.
It used tax breaks to encourage voluntary mergers between school districts, and, in its final phase, tasked the State Board of Education with deciding how to reorganize those that had rejected unification.
Donna Russo-Savage, a staff attorney with the Agency of Education, told board members that the body had little discretion in the process, and that statutes that predated the merger law basically required them to greenlight the dissolution so long as students living in the district would continue to attend a school that met the board’s education quality standards.
Board members voted 7-2 Wednesday to allow the Southern Valley Unified Union School District to break up into two separate, single-town school districts.
The State Board of Education members have for the first time approved the dissolution of a school district created under Act 46, the sweeping merger law passed in 2015.