Consolidation Watch: State Policies on an Important Rural Issue

Last Updated: October 27, 2010

This article appeared in the October 2010 Rural Policy Matters.


Governor Jennifer Granholm’s state budget recommendation to set aside $50 million for a competitive grant program to encourage consolidation and cost-sharing was denied by the legislature. Despite the controversy around studies on both sides of the issue, the Grand Rapids Press takes the Michigan Legislature to task over its decision and continues to cite the same cost savings estimates that have since been discredited. Granholm has said she still supports the program and will continue to work for its adoption in the state.

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More school districts in Vermont are beginning to consider consolidation talks with neighboring districts as enrollments decline and worry grows that the state might mandate consolidation.

Currently under Act 153, passed earlier this year, districts can receive tax incentives for voluntary consolidation. Vermont Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca favors mandatory consolidation and says he is happy with the effects of Act 153. Much attention is also being given to the state’s two gubernatorial candidates’ positions on consolidation.

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Read more from the October 2010 Rural Policy Matters.