JUNE 26, 2004 - Posted at 12:32 p.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Nearly one-fifth of Arkansas' 308 school districts will cease to exist under provisions of the state's first school consolidation law that goes into effect this week.
Sixty-one districts will lose their individual identities, though not necessarily their physical locations, under Act 60, which was passed during this year's special session on education.
The law ordered administrative consolidation of districts with fewer than 350 students, effective July 1. Fifty-seven districts fell below the threshold.
Forty-two of the affected districts are being absorbed into larger existing districts through consolidations or annexations. Twenty-one other districts are consolidating with each other into nine larger districts with new names.