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Friday, March 25, 2011

Does Consolidating Schools Really Save Money?

Does Consolidating Schools Really Save Money?
Here's a list of reports from different parts of the country who has done the research:
I'll add more links as I find more information, but here are my current conslusions...

Most consolidation plans state that by reducing the amount of administrators reduce costs.  However, according to the above research, most administrators that kept their jobs during consolidation are likely to receive pay increases due to consolidating two or more administrators into one.  Many also had to hire assistants to help delegate their expanded responsibilities, creating larger bureaucracies, thus minimizing actual cost reductions and efficiency.  Smaller schools managed on a smaller scale often have better resource management.

Buildings And Transportation
Even if a school does not have to expand their current buildings for consolidating with another school, the added costs in student transportation often negate most cost reductions.

Most consolidation plans often state that by purchasing food in larger bulk will save money in combined school districts; however, two more more school districts could effectively accomplish the same cost reductions by simply combining their food orders.

Most schools are required by most state and local laws to adhere to equal pay for all staff.  If staff members from a smaller, lesser funded district are consolidated into a larger, higher funded disctrict, then their pay must also equal the current staff, thus minimizing cost reduction.

Quality of Education
It has been proven in many studies that smaller classrooms in smaller schools tend to offer better education, especially in early primary grades.  Drop-out rates are usually lower, test scores are usually higher, and more are more likely to attend college.  The only pros for larger schools is that they tend to offer more programs.

It's interesting to point out that many counties and states only cut teachers' jobs and consolidate  schools as a LAST resort instead of a FIRST resort, and look into other alternatives and options first.

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