Advantages to consolidating school districts
The Rural Blog Anything But Research Based-State Initiatives to Consolidate Schools and Districts Rural Policy Matters (March 2006) Broader Curriculum Does Not Equal Higher Achievement in Iowa Rural Policy Matters (March 2006) Breaking the Fall—Cushioning the Impact of Rural Declining Enrollment (PDF)Lorna Jimerson (February 2006) School Consolidation and Local Control (PDF)National School Boards Association (2005) School consolidation and alternatives are the focus of the October issue of Leadership Insider. (PDF)Cynthia Reeves (Jan 2004) Between 19, total enrollment in West Virginia decreased 11%, 202 schools were closed, and education spending increased by 16%.
Per pupil expenditures increased more in West Virginia than in any other state, but student achievement remained stagnant during this period.
National Education Policy Center: Consolidation of Schools and Districts: What the Research Says and What It Means Pennsylvania School Boards Association: Merger/Consolidation of School Districts: Does it save money and improve student achievement?
Despite this, the prevailing notion of streamlining school districts and reducing expenditures through consolidation remains strong.
The links listed below provide a glimpse of the extant research on school consolidation as well as providing some ideas for areas in need of more study.
Additionally, evidence continues to build demonstrating the advantages of small schools in attaining higher levels of student achievement.
Larger schools, in contrast, have been shown to increase transportation costs, raise dropout rates, lower student involvement in extra-curricular activities, and harm rural communities’ sense of place.
Research: Smaller Is Better (Requires Free Registration)Debra Viadero (November 2001) Studies conducted over the past 10 to 15 years suggest that in smaller schools, students come to class more often, drop out less, earn better grades, participate more often in extracurricular activities, feel safer, and show fewer behavior problems.