Travel consolidating at cost
” in the June 2002 issue of : “Sizeable potential cost savings may exist by moving from a very small district …
to a district with 2,000 to 4,000 pupils, both in instructional and administrative costs.”These studies estimate economies of size across all school districts and therefore do not look directly at the cost impact of consolidation.
Because consolidation creates larger school districts, it results in lower costs per pupil whenever economies of size exist.
Economies of size could arise for many reasons, which we discuss in “Does School District Consolidation Cut Costs? First, the services provided to each student by certain education professionals may not diminish in quality as the number of students increases, at least over some range.
John Yinger (left) and William Duncombe, both professors at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, have studied the economics of size in public education.
To put it another way, economies of size exist if spending on education per pupil declines as the number of pupils goes up, controlling for school district performance.
Empirical Evidence A large body of literature has investigated the relationship between cost per pupil and district enrollment, controlling for school performance.
Although these studies cover many locations and use various methodologies, most lead to the same conclusion that emerged from a study, “Revisiting Economies of Size in American Education: Are We Any Closer to a Consensus?
By 2006-07, the number of districts had dropped to 13,862, a decline of 88 percent.
The rate of consolidation has slowed in recent years, but at least a few districts consolidate every year in many states.