Education A State Capitals Roundup

Neb. Judge Halts School Merger Law

By Rhea R. Borja — November 29, 2005 1 min read

A Nebraska district judge has suspended a controversial state law that requires school districts that serve only elementary students to merge with larger districts. His action gives voters a chance to repeal the law next year.

Lancaster County District Judge Paul D. Merritt Jr. issued a temporary injunction Nov. 14 on Legislative Bill 126, a law that would consolidate the state’s 206 small elementary-only districts, called Class I districts, with larger systems. Class I systems make up nearly 50 percent of all districts in Nebraska, yet educate fewer than 3 percent of the state’s students.

The district mergers began this school year and were expected to be complete by June. If that were to happen, Judge Merritt said an initiative seeking to overturn the law that has qualified for the November 2006 ballot vote would “represent a meaningless exercise in futility.”