(1) The State Committee for the Reorganization of School Districts, when considering a petition or a plan to affiliate a Class I school district or portion thereof with one or more Class II, III, IV, or V school districts, shall consider the traditional high school attendance patterns of resident students of such Class I district. The state committee may reject a petition or plan to affiliate only for the reasons stated in subsection (2) of this section.
(2) The state committee may reject a petition or plan for affiliation when:
(a) No Class I district resident student has attended the high school program of the Class II, III, IV, or V district with which an affiliation is proposed during the immediately preceding ten-year period;
(b) The affiliation would require the construction of new high school facilities; or
(c) The affiliation would result in assignment of less than forty percent of the valuation of the Class I district to a high school district which over the immediately preceding five-year period has educated eighty percent or more of the students from such Class I district.
(3) The state committee shall reject a petition or plan for affiliation when twenty percent or more of any tract of land under common ownership which is proposing to affiliate is not contiguous to the high school district with which affiliation is proposed. The state committee shall not reject a petition or plan under this subsection if (a) one or more resident students of the tract of land under common ownership has attended the high school program of the high school district within the immediately preceding ten-year period or (b) approval of the petition or plan would allow siblings of such resident students to attend the same school as the resident students attended.
(4) A rejected petition shall stand rejected notwithstanding that it has been signed by over sixty-five percent of the legal voters of the petitioning Class I district.