What is School District Reorganization?
March 13, 2012
As reported previously, the PORTA and AC Central Boards of Education have initiated talks about possible reorganization. Many have questions about what “School District Reorganization” means. A great resource for finding information about reorganization is the Illinois State Board of Education. The following information can be found at http://www.isbe.net/sfms/html/reorg_school.htm and more specific information about various reorganization types can also be found at the ISBE website.
SCHOOL DISTRICT REORGANIZATION
School district reorganization has been around since 1899, with the first consolidation petition in 1903. Although different needs have driven reorganization in the past, the critical areas of concern today are the educational opportunities reorganization provides students and the fiscal viability of school districts to provide the highest quality educational opportunities.
In addition to the basic financial motivations for reorganization, research demonstrates that for high school students, school size can make a difference in both achievement and in the number of course offerings available to students. Each reorganization situation is unique. Many items will depend on the individual circumstances that surround the particular school districts involved.
From FY 1984 to FY 2010, the number of individual school districts has decreased from 1,008 to 870, a reduction of more than 13 percent.
TYPES OF REORGANIZATIONS:
Consolidation is the merger of two or more existing districts to create a new district. Consolidation includes two or more elementary districts, two or more high school districts, or two or more unit districts combining to form a larger, like-type district. Consolidation also includes dual district territory or dual district territory plus one or more unit districts combining to form a new unit district.
School District Conversion is the formation of a single new high school district and new elementary districts based upon the boundaries of dissolved unit districts. School District Conversion includes forming dual districts from two or more existing unit districts or from one or more existing high school districts and one or more existing unit districts.
Partial Elementary Unit Formation is the formation of a “hybrid” unit district that includes all territory for high school purposes but only a portion of the territory for elementary purposes. Partial Elementary Unit Formation includes the formation of a “hybrid” unit district from one or more high school districts and one or more unit districts, from a high school district and elementary feeder districts, or from unit districts.
Consolidation, School District Conversion, and Partial Elementary Unit Formation are governed by Article 11E of the School Code and require:
• ==> Petition filed by voter signatures or school boards
• ==> Local public hearing conducted by regional superintendent
• ==> Approval by State Superintendent
• ==> Successful referendum
Annexation is the incorporation of a portion (detachment) or all (dissolution) of one school district into another school district. Annexation is governed by Article 7 of the School Code and requires:
• ==> Petition filed by voter signatures or school boards
• ==> Local public hearing conducted by regional board of school trustees
• ==> Regional board of school trustees approval ==> Successful referendum (for annexation of entire district)
Deactivation is the closing of a district’s elementary attendance center or high school attendance center and the sending of students in grades Kindergarten through 8 or 9 through 12 to one or more other districts once all districts agree. Deactivation is governed by Article 10, Section 22.22b of the School Code and requires:
• ==> Board resolution to deactivate
• ==> Successful referendum in deactivating district
==> Tuition agreement between the sending and receiving districts
Cooperative High School is the establishment of a jointly operated high school by two or more contiguous unit or high school districts, each with an enrollment of less than 600 students in grades 9 through 12, while retaining the individual districts. Cooperative High School formation is governed by Article 10, Section 22.22c of the School Code and requires
o Board resolution by all boards
o Successful referendum in all districts
o Cooperative agreement and governing board
STATE FINANCIAL INCENTIVES:
A major initiative for school district reorganization began when the General Assembly established financial incentives for newly consolidated districts. Since that time, these same incentives have been authorized for other types of reorganizations. Except for most detachment/annexation, all other types of
GENERAL STATE AID DIFFERENCE:
This incentive is paid if the General State Aid Entitlement (GSA) for the newly reorganized district(s) for the first year of existence is less than the GSA would have been that same year on the basis of the previously existing districts.
Based on teachers employed in each newly reorganized district who were also employed in one of the previously existing districts, this incentive calculates the difference between what those teachers were paid in their original district for the last year of existence and what they would have been paid if placed on the highest salary schedule of the districts forming the newly reorganized district.
DEFICIT FUND BALANCE:
This incentive calculates each previously existing district’s fund balances by combining the Education, Operations and Maintenance, Transportation, and Working Cash funds. If any previously existing district has a combined deficit fund balance, the incentive pays the difference between the lowest deficit and the other deficits, with a positive combined fund balance being considered a deficit of $0. For districts with a deficit, an additional calculation compares current year expenditures to prior 3- year average expenditures, with the incentive being reduced by the excess if the current year expenditures are greater than the prior 3-year average.
$4,000 per CERTIFIED STAFF:
This incentive pays $4,000 for each full-time, certified staff member employed by each reorganized district.
Information taken directly from Illinois State Board of Education Website http://www.isbe.net/sfms/html/reorg_school.htm.