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Bill To Consolidate Small Oklahoma School Districts Fails

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

A bill to consolidate some smaller school districts to save money and give teachers raises went down in flames in a senate committee.

There are currently 520-school districts in Oklahoma. A plan to consolidate some of the smaller districts, those with 200-or fewer students, died on Monday. The author says it should have passed for two reasons.

“One, reducing at least the administrative functions of those schools, but secondly providing funding back to the classroom. We’ve been talking a lot in this building about teacher pay. And this would afford for $500 to $700 more in teachers’ pockets,” said Sen. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City.

Bice’s bill to consolidate smaller districts got hammered, failing 11 to 1. Lawmakers say they just couldn’t support consolidating services in their districts.

“There is no way that a superintendent can be loyal to two districts. It is impossible for them to do that,” said Sen. Ron Sharp, R-Oklahoma City.

After much debate and two special sessions, the legislature closed the books on 2018 without promised teacher raises.

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