School Consolidation Could Increase Costs And Lower Education Quality

As the economy struggles and state education budgets continue to tighten, many policymakers are exploring school consolidation as a way to increase efficiency and save taxpayers money. However, many school consolidation efforts are likely to do more harm than good, this new report finds.

Education policymakers jumping on the school consolidation bandwagon could be leading our children right off the cliff. Before making important decisions about consolidation, policymakers should take a close look at new evidence showing that school consolidation can actually lead to extra costs and lower academic performance among our kids.

 

In general, school consolidation does not save taxpayers money, and could actually increase taxpayers’ financial burden, according to a new policy brief by Ohio University researchers Craig Howley, Jerry Johnson and Jennifer Petrie. Furthermore, consolidation does not result in improved student achievement, and can instead diminish academic and social performance, according to the brief.

 

Here are the highlights from Howley, Johnson and Petrie’s policy brief:

  • Consolidation will generally not save taxpayers money, and could actually increase costs to taxpayers through added administrative and transportation costs.
  • Consolidation does not improve student achievement, and can even result in diminished academic and social performance.
  • Consolidation decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis with considerable thought and research, rather than through blanket policy changes made at the state level.

The authors of this new report recommend that important decisions about school consolidation be made on a case-by-case basis, and not through sweeping state policy changes. Consolidation has substantially different outcomes for communities depending on their socio-demographic characteristics

 

To view the full report, visit www.greatlakescenter.org.

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