Start Consolidating school distrcts

Consolidating school distrcts

No great surprise here: A recent audit in New Jersey recommended that the state move forward with school district consolidation efforts.

There are several reasons for this: empirical studies of consolidation employ different analytical approaches to data; older data in some studies yield results that may not be representative of current district conditions; studies do not uniformly separate costs related to merging only a narrow range of district services from costs related to merging entire districts or combining schools; different studies focus on different costs or estimate costs in different ways; and much of the literature consists of advocacy.

However, while the literature on consolidation may not provide a direct road map for making decisions, it does provide a useful overview of issues, together with estimates of cost savings and cautions for those going forward with consolidation.

Throughout the country there was a great wave of school district consolidation in the 1970s and 1980s.

Generally speaking, this consolidation consisted of bringing multiple small school districts together under a single set of administrators.

A frequent question to the Reference Desk, and one currently receiving increased national attention due to budget challenges, is whether consolidating school districts might result in lower overall costs for education.

Unfortunately, research on consolidation does not offer definitive guidance for making such decisions.

It discusses issues of presumed benefits of consolidation: fiscal efficiency and higher educational quality.