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This consolidation would create one larger “unified” district that covers students from kindergarten through high school.

Depending on the districts, consolidation could result in saved money, through more efficient use of resources and increased buying power.

There are several reasons for this: empirical studies of consolidation employ different analytical approaches to data; older data in some studies yield results that may not be representative of current district conditions; studies do not uniformly separate costs related to merging only a narrow range of district services from costs related to merging entire districts or combining schools; different studies focus on different costs or estimate costs in different ways; and much of the literature consists of advocacy.

However, while the literature on consolidation may not provide a direct road map for making decisions, it does provide a useful overview of issues, together with estimates of cost savings and cautions for those going forward with consolidation.

These board members oversee everything from superintendent hiring to setting curriculum and overseeing the budget.

As two or more districts combine, what happens to their corresponding board members?

A frequent question to the Reference Desk, and one currently receiving increased national attention due to budget challenges, is whether consolidating school districts might result in lower overall costs for education.

Unfortunately, research on consolidation does not offer definitive guidance for making such decisions.

If one district has higher pay, do you decrease those teacher salaries to correspond with the other district? Would the budget even support raising the salaries of the lower district’s teachers to bring them up to the higher district? Each school district is run by a locally elected school board.

What’s more, larger districts aren’t as nimble in adjusting to new technologies and learning modalities.

For instance, a district that aims to provide each student with a laptop will have an easier time with a small student population.

If one district has passed a budget override, who will cover the cost?

Beyond that, pay for teachers – and other staff – can vary widely between school districts.

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