The petition for the consolidation of the Hutsonville Unit 1 and Palestine Unit 2 school districts has been approved the the State Superintendent of Schools and can now be placed on the March 2018 ballot.
State Superintendent Tony Smith approved the petition on Friday. The question of consolidation of the two districts will now be placed on the ballot for voters to decide.
Regional Superintendent Monte Newlin approved the petition on Nov. 6, and forwarded it to Smith for his consideration.
The petition was submitted to Newlin by the Committee of Ten after the Palestine Unit 3 Board of Education voted not accept the petition in June of this year.
The Committee of Ten was formed by vote of both the Palestine and Hutsonville school boards in August 2016. At the June 2017 board meetings of both school districts the committee presented the petition recommending consolidation. Hutsonville unanimously approved, while Palestine voted down the petition 5-2.
The Committee of Ten then collected the 50 or more required signatures from voters of each school district to bring the petition to the regional superintendent for consideration to be placed on the ballot. As part of the process, Newlin held a public hearing on Oct. 23. His letter and comments to Smith were based on the testimony and evidence presented at that hearing.
The question of consolidation will be placed on the ballot for the voters to decide on March 20, 2018, pending a 35-day stay for Administrative Review.