115C-72. Consolidation of districts and discontinuance of schools.

(a) Local boards of education shall have the power and authority to close or consolidate schools located in the same district, and with the approval of the State Board of Education, to consolidate school districts or other school areas over which the board has full control, whenever and wherever in its judgment the closing or consolidation will better serve the educational interest of the local school administrative unit or any part of it.

In determining whether two or more public schools shall be consolidated, or in determining whether or not a school shall be closed and the pupils transferred therefrom, local boards of education of the several counties shall observe and be bound by the following rules:

(1) In any question involving the closing or consolidation of any public school, the local board of education of the school administrative unit in which such school is located shall cause a thorough study of such school to be made, having in mind primarily the welfare of the students to be affected by a proposed closing or consolidation and including in such study, among other factors, geographic conditions, anticipated increase or decrease in school enrollment, the inconvenience or hardship that might result to the pupils to be affected by such closing or consolidation, the cost of providing additional school facilities in the event of such closing or consolidation, and such other factors as the board shall consider germane. Before the entry of any order of closing or consolidation, the local board of education shall provide for a public hearing in regard to such proposed closing or consolidation, at which hearing the public shall be afforded an opportunity to express their views. Upon the basis of the study so made and after such hearing, said board may, in the exercise of its discretion, approve the closing or consolidation proposed.

(2) The provisions of this section shall not deprive any local board of education of the authority to assign or enroll any and all pupils in schools in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 115C-366(b) and 115C-367 to 115C-370.

(b) This section does not govern merger of a city school administrative unit with another school administrative unit. Such merger is governed by G.S. 115C-67. (1955, c. 1372, art. 8, s. 3; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1983, c. 308; c. 752; 2009-570, s. 27.)