ERIC Number: ED322612
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990
Alternatives to School District Consolidation.
Knowledge Brief, n2 1990
Consolidation has become both a solution for small, rural school districts and a contentious policy fraught with numerous difficulties. Despite concerns about limited curricula and higher operating expenses, there is no generalizable evidence that students educated in rural settings underachieve or have deficient social skills. Recent research has found that socioeconomic status, English proficiency, and cultural factors are major indicators of student achievement, not school size and geographic location. This report explores alternative solutions to making needed improvements, including interdistrict sharing, partial reorganizations, extradistrict cooperation, and the use of intermediary units and instructional technologies, and describes the promises and limitations of such alternatives. Districts pooling limited resources are, in effect, increasing their overall enrollment base. Arrangements requiring only minimal involvement are the easiest to sustain. Sharing ease or difficulty depends on factors such as stability, consensus, distribution of benefits, competition, and expense. Three successful examples of partial reorganization include central high school districts, cluster districts, and districts operating student exchange programs. Extradistrict cooperation results when a district receives program support, services, or equipment from area businesses, governmental agencies, nonprofit groups, and postsecondary institutions. Intermediary units are frequently mandated, directed, and funded by the state to coordinate the sharing of resources, teachers, and specialized staff and services. Consolidation and cooperation are contrary policies attempting to accomplish the same goals, but neither fully resolves the problems of small, rural schools. (12 references) (MLH)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Collected Works - Serials
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Far West Lab. for Educational Research and Development, San Francisco, CA.
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