Consolidating school systems
According to data kept by the Department of Public Instruction, almost 80 of the school systems in North Carolina have less than 10,000 students apiece.
It is possible that these small school districts are very efficient, and can make the case that there are no great savings to be had with consolidation.
It discusses issues of presumed benefits of consolidation: fiscal efficiency and higher educational quality.
The evidence detailed in this brief suggests that “a century of consolidation has already produced most of the efficiencies obtainable” and that poor regions benefit from smaller schools and districts.
These costs will continue to rise as the cost of gasoline rises, which seems likely to continue over the long term.
Here in the Triangle, we are used to fairly large districts. But mostly, North Carolina’s local school districts are small.
Here is a summary of the major findings from the literature: Here is some of the most recent and publicly available research.
For additional research from peer-reviewed journals and for research on other topics, contact the Ask A REL Reference Desk.
But I would think it’s worth the legislature’s time and energy to look at this.
The state pays a big chunk of K-12 costs in North Carolina, around 60 percent, and in exchange for that, the legislature has a right to poke around and ask questions.