A discovery that the Legislature failed to reauthorize a provision allowing the governor to "block grant" certain funds to some Utah school districts is not creating much concern in those districts.

Six districts of the state's 40 participated in a block-grant experiment in which some of their funds were combined and made more flexible. The districts were relieved of some of the strings accompanying the funds so they could decide where best to spend them. Later, four more districts were added to the pilot experiment.During the 1992 session, legislators failed to reauthorize the program, and it automatically "sunsetted." The question was raised Tuesday during a legislative management meeting and may come up in a special session if one is called.

Salt Lake Superintendent John A. Bennion, whose district was one of the six originally included in the block-grant trial, said failure to reauthorize the program will have little practical effect on the districts.

Since the pilot began, funding restrictions have been generally relaxed so that districts have more flexibility to determine how to spend their state money, he said. In particular, districts have been given more latitude in spending career-ladder money, one of the categories affected by the block-grant concept, he said.

"I don't see it as a critical issue one way or the other," Bennion said.

State Superintendent Scott W. Bean agreed that the sunsetting of the program is not serious, although "it would probably be better if it was part of a special session agenda, just to renew the date." He said he has discussed the matter with Gov. Norm Bangerter and did not express strong concerns.

The state's strategic planning process is moving to remove strings from school funds anyway, Bean said, and will probably accomplish the same purpose.