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ERIC Number: ED354141
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Nov
Pages: 21
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
A Territorial Imperative: The Authority of the State To Reorganize Public Schools and Districts.
Howley, Craig B.
The history of statutory and case law pertinent to school reorganization reflects the elaboration of state authority over education during the development of the American Republic. This article considers the legal right of the state to define and redefine the territory served by administrative units that provide direct services to students. Public education, originally begun by religious groups in colonial days, was firmly established by the turn of the 20th century with state education agencies, compulsory attendance, and teacher training and certification. Consolidation laws are fairly consistent from state to state. The basic principle is that boards of education act properly to open and close schools in accord with the legitimate exercise of the official judgment of members. Trends in case law literature--a bulk of nearly 150 cases decided between 1936 and 1966 and about 50 thereafter--affirm the disciplinary authority of the state entities to alter the territory to which instructional services are provided. Legal grounds for challenges to consolidation are limited to issues of procedure, interpretations of statutory intent, or, in rare cases, demonstrable abuse of authority. Several questionable presumptions are that elected school boards represent the constituents who elect them and that board members freely exercise the authority vested in them. At present, territoriality is limited by the distance deemed feasible to transport students. In the future the need for territorially-based schooling may be eliminated by telecommunications. (KS)
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A