Bills would consolidate counties, school districts

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Rep. Toby Herald, 91st District
Rep. Toby Herald, 91st District

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A pair of bills sponsored by Republican state Rep. Toby Herald, of Beattyville, would redraw the political map … literally.

House Bill 243 would consolidate 100 of Kentucky’s 120 counties into 34 new counties. The plan would simply merge whole counties, with two, three, five or six counties at a time joining to form the new counties. That would leave just 54 counties in the state.

What the new counties would be called, and where their county seats would be located, would be decided by local committees.

That would leave just 20 counties in the state retaining their current boundaries, and in our region, only Pike County would remain untouched.

Proposed new county lines

Meanwhile, in House Bill 242, Herald is also proposing to reduce the number of Kentucky’s county and independent school districts from 176 to 55. That would be accomplished by abolishing all of Kentucky’s current districts and forming new districts based on the new county lines in House Bill 242.

The one difference? The current Boyd County would retain its own school district, although that county is slated to be merged with Martin and Lawrence counties in the other bill.

Proposed new school districts
Proposed new school districts

Both bills were just introduced in the legislature yesterday and have had no movement in the process yet. And, in what may be some indication of the chances for passage, Herald is the sole sponsor of both bills, with no other lawmakers signing on as co-sponsors.