Potential costs and benefits of school district consolidation are controversial.
Michigan occupies the middle ground: It ranks 22nd nationally.
However, as may be seen in Exhibit 2, Michigan still has a substantial proportion of districts serving fewer than 1,000 students, suggesting to some state lawmakers that reducing the number of district would improve efficiency.
They also maintain that in consolidation-imposed larger schools, personal attention to individual students suffers, the environment becomes less closely knit, and there are more discipline problems.
Following are several factors that PSC believes should be weighed when considering school district consolidation.
Modest savings can also result from more efficient bus routes and elimination of one school board.
Little, if any, savings are realized from eliminating teaching positions, because the merged district is serving the same number of students as were the separate districts.
Most consolidations took place during the 1950s and 1960s, when many single-school, K–6, and other non-K–12 districts merged into K–12 districts.
This trend ended, and consolidation did not receive much attention until recently.
Consolidation affects school finances in several ways—state aid, day-to-day operating funds, tax base, and millage Research finds mixed results about the overall financial effect of mergers.
Some studies find that per student, consolidated schools have fewer teachers and administrative personnel.
The renewed interest in consolidation is due in part to interest in more efficiency and cost effectiveness in public education.