Consolidating school districts

The Governor’s office notes that the incentive model has been tried in the past with only limited success, presumably leaving the state with forced consolidation as the primary method.There are several considerations with the school consolidation issue that do not seem to have gotten the attention of the decision makers, or perhaps they would just rather not talk about them.The statewide analysis by Standard & Poor’s was commissioned by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee in 2006 to study consolidation as a possible method of lowering escalating costs in the state’s 501 school districts.Costs in Commonwealth school districts have jumped almost three times the national rate of inflation in recent years, according to the study.

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This might include building a new school for two districts that merge, or paying off the debt of a school to make it more attractive as a merger partner.Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the state’s legislators are considering the consolidation of school districts in order to save the state money.Quinn has stated that there are 270 school superintendents who make salaries higher than that of the Governor. Governor Sheila Simon in charge of this effort, due to her experience as an educator and concern for the school system.These costs will continue to rise as the cost of gasoline rises, which seems likely to continue over the long term.In areas where school consolidation has occurred, it has been noted that cons for larger schools include a loss of personalization for students whether troubled or gifted.The amount generally decreases as districts get larger until reaching an average of ,057 for districts with 2,500 to 2,999 students.Per-pupil spending tends to go back up once enrollment goes over 3,000 students.On average, Illinois school districts serve just 2,399 students per district, the fifth-lowest among states with school populations over 1 million.Conversely, California school districts average 6,067 students.Among the key candidates for consolidation are the state’s 859 local school districts, which consume nearly two-thirds of the billion in local property taxes that local governments across Illinois collect each year.Illinois has the fifth-largest number of school districts in the nation.

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