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123A.35 COOPERATION AND COMBINATION.

Subdivision 1.Scope.

Sections 123A.35 to 123A.43 establish procedures for boards that adopt, by resolution, a five-year written agreement:

(1) to provide at least secondary instruction cooperatively for at least one or two years, if the districts cooperate according to subdivision 2; and

(2) to combine into one district.

Subd. 2.Cooperation requirements.

Cooperating districts must:

(1) implement a written agreement according to section 123A.32 no later than the first year of cooperation;

(2) all be members of one education district, if any one of the districts is a member, no later than the end of the second year of cooperation; and

(3) all be members of one service cooperative, if any one of the districts is a member.

Clause (1) does not apply to a district that implemented an agreement for secondary education, according to Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 122.535, during any year before the 1991-1992 school year. If the districts cooperate for one or more years, the agreement may be continued during those years.

Subd. 3.Combination requirements.

Combining districts must be contiguous and meet one of the following requirements at the time of combination:

(1) at least two districts with at least 400 resident pupils enrolled in grades 7 through 12 in the combined district and projections, approved by the department, of enrollment at least at that level for five years;

(2) at least two districts if either:

(i) both of the districts qualify for secondary sparsity revenue under section 126C.10, subdivision 7, and have an average isolation index over 23; or

(ii) the combined district qualifies for secondary sparsity revenue;

(3) at least three districts with fewer than 400 resident pupils enrolled in grades 7 through 12 in the combined district; or

(4) at least two districts with fewer than 400 resident pupils enrolled in grades 7 through 12 in the combined district if either district is located on the border of the state.

A combination under clause (2), (3), or (4) must be approved by the commissioner. The commissioner shall disapprove a combination under clause (2), (3), or (4) if the combination is educationally unsound or would not reasonably enable the districts to fulfill statutory and rule requirements.