Some Small Districts Struggling to Finalize Consolidation Plans

MARCH 18, 2004 - Posted at 2:06 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Officials at most small school districts that a new law requires to consolidate say they are being welcomed into other neighboring districts, although a few of the 57 districts with fewer than 350 students remain without a plan so far as an April 1 deadline nears.

At least 25 of the 57 districts have plans to annex into other districts, while at least 20 have proposed consolidating administrations, according to an Associated Press survey.

Other districts are still negotiating with prospective partners or plan to resume discussions after spring breaks.  At least one Region 8 school district, Delaplaine, has arrived at a dead end, finding no one that will voluntarily annex or consolidate with it.  The state can order consolidation for schools that don't meet the April 1 deadline.

Here's how things are shaping up for school districts in Region 8 that face mandatory consolidation:

-Lynn...will consolidate with River Valley.

-Biggers-Reyno...annex into Corning, awaiting Corning's approval.

-Cord-Charlotte...undecided between Sulphur Rock and Newark.

-Cotton Plant...annex into Augusta.

-Crawfordsville...annex into Earle.

-Delaplaine...unwanted by seven nearby districts.

-Evening Shade...annex into Cave City.

-Randolph County...consolidate with Williford.

-Stone County...annex with Rural Special into Mountain View, unknown if Mountain View has approved.

-Swifton...undecided between Jackson County Consolidated and Hoxie.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)