- Associated Press - Thursday, March 5, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A spokesman for Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says Hutchinson plans to sign into law legislation granting some school districts that have fallen below the state’s minimum enrollment level to seek a waiver from a state law requiring them to merge with other districts.

The comment comes after the state Senate voted 22-0 Thursday to approve the bill allowing districts with fewer than 350 students to apply for the waivers if they are not on the state’s fiscal, academic or facilities distress list.

The legislation scales back a key part of the 2004 law that reduced the number of districts in the state by requiring districts with fewer than 350 students to merge. The consolidation law was enacted in response to the Lake View school funding case, which ended in 2007.

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