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School finance and consolidation issues

This posting questions at what level of state participation do school districts become concerned about the issue of loss of local control in regards to the ratio of local/state/federal revenue? It also illustrates arguments for and against the forced consolidation of small school districts from a financial perspective.

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As you examine arguments for forced consolidation of small school districts from a financial perspective, here are some ideas to consider:

Please focus on the benefits of increased equity and efficiency. For example, consolidation often serves as an educational equalizer. It is unfair for some children to be penalized educationally, based on where they were born. All students deserve to attend a school with ample financial and educational services. If you want to look at efficiency, focus on costs. Since small schools are typically unable to benefit from the economies of their larger counterparts, consolidation often is more cost effective; it typically costs more to provide the same services in a small school than in a large one. Advocates also maintain that consolidation offers improved academic offerings.

Data from http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-925/school.htm includes effects in other financial capacities:

"First, it often enables the consolidated schools to share courses and facilities. Sharing results in a more varied curriculum because fewer classes are dropped due to low enrollment. Expenditures for capital improvements and basic maintenance are reduced because there is no need to upgrade or maintain duplicate facilities. Because consolidation often combines classes and increases their size, fewer teachers need to be employed. Consolidated schools, moreover, do not normally employ as many administrative personnel as did the separate schools. Sports programs ...

Solution Summary

This posting questions at what level of state participation do school districts become concerned about the issue of loss of local control in regards to the ratio of local/state/federal revenue? It also illustrates arguments for and against the forced consolidation of small school districts from a financial perspective.

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