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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?In New York, consolidating districts may receive an increase in their basic operating aid of up to 40 percent for five years, with declining increases for an additional nine years.
School district consolidation is a striking phenomenon.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 117,108 school districts provided elementary and secondary education in 1939-40.
Some factors indicate consolidation is likely to tap into economies of size and thereby lower these costs, but other factors suggest consolidation might actually cause costs per pupil to rise.
As a result, we now turn to empirical studies of consolidation, which can determine whether the net impact of consolidation on costs per pupil is positive or negative.
In this context, the cost of education is not the same as education spending but is instead the amount a school district would have to spend to obtain a given level of performance, as measured by test scores, graduation rates and perhaps other output measures.
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.” 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.Most state governments have policies that influence school district consolidation.The most common form of policy is a state aid program designed to encourage district reorganization, typically in the form of consolidation, by providing additional money for operations or capital projects during the transition to the new form of organization.Another approach is provided by the two of us in our article in 2007—namely, to see how costs per pupil change when districts consolidate.This study is based on all the rural school districts in New York state between 19.Third, administrators and teachers may have a more positive attitude toward work in smaller schools, which tend to have more flexible rules and procedures.Finally, students may be more motivated and parents may find it more comfortable to interact with teachers in smaller districts, which tend to have a greater community feel.During this period, 12 pairs of these districts consolidated.These consolidating districts had enrollments ranging from 250 to 1,990.