MONTPELIER (AP) - The Vermont House has given final approval to a bill that would shake up the way schools in the state are governed, consolidating the number of school districts from more than 270 to around 50.

The bill passed Wednesday on a 76-60 roll call vote that did not fall along party lines. Backers said consolidated districts would help equalize the opportunities available to students, and create administrative efficiencies.

Opponents said they want to preserve the state's small schools, and individual communities' control over them. Some called the reform plan not ready for passage into law.

The bill's fate is uncertain in the Senate, where the Education Committee on Tuesday began considering an alternative that would not require school districts to merge.