Consolidation issue revived by study

(December 6, 2004) — LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Governor Huckabee's plans for consolidating small school districts last year envisioned fewer, larger districts better able to provide greater educational opportunities to students. A second round of the consolidation debate is expected because of a report putting the price for essential improvements to school buildings and facilities at two-point-three billion dollars. Even Senate leader Jim Hill, a diehard consolidation opponent, said it makes fiscal sense to combine districts. Superintendents of small, struggling districts face multi-million-dollar repair proposals. Some say they would be better off combining with larger districts to save construction money.