Our Reports

Review of the Research on District & School Consolidation


This literature review examines the academic research related to school district consolidation and school consolidation and looks at the financial and academic costs and benefits associated with district or school consolidation. Included in this review are 40 articles related to school district size, consolidation, and other types of school district regionalization, and 18 articles related to school consolidation, school size, and school closure.

The literature review examined academic works published from 2007 to 2018, with nearly all of the research pieces coming from peer-reviewed academic journals. Additionally, the research review included policy papers, white papers, and working papers that analyze recent trends in policy, or state-specific circumstances regarding the outcomes of different regionalization strategies.

The literature review revealed several key findings, including that research indicates very small schools and districts may not be able to provide comprehensive educational programs to students, such as extracurricular activities and Advanced Placement courses.

In addition, research suggests that 1) economic efficiency is expected to increase when small school districts consolidate, and 2) for Connecticut’s peer states, the optimal school district size for these efficiencies is approximately 1,500-3,000 students. For comparison, there are currently 84 local and regional school districts in Connecticut serving fewer than 2,000 students.

In addition to these two key points, the review of academic research on school district consolidation also yielded several additional findings related to the impacts of consolidation on student outcomes and financial efficiency. These findings are included in the frequently asked questions document about school district consolidation, which is available via the second button on the right.

Citations

Connecticut School Finance Project. (2019). A Review of the Research on District & School Consolidation. New Haven, CT: Author. Retrieved from http://ctschoolfinance.org/assets/uploads/files/Review-of-Research-on-District-and-School-Consolidation.pdf.

Connecticut School Finance Project. (2019). FAQs: School District Consolidation. New Haven, CT: Author. Retrieved from http://ctschoolfinance.org/assets/uploads/files/School-District-Consolidation.pdf.


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