Throughout the country there was a great wave of school district consolidation in the 1970s and 1980s.Generally speaking, this consolidation consisted of bringing multiple small school districts together under a single set of administrators.The benefits of school consolidation go beyond fiscal savings. Four districts with one small high school apiece may not have the resources to provide, say, a dedicated music teacher.
Sometimes, but not always, individual schools were closed in the process.
Although the trend slowed down over the years, there appear to be a growing number of states revisiting this managerial move -- and with good reason.
What’s more, a remarkable 144 of New Jersey’s districts are made up of only one school.
State Auditor Stephen Eells points out the inefficiency of having one K-6 school handle all the administrative costs of running a school district.
According to Eells, if that school were to join with a couple of other K-6s, a K-8 and maybe even a high school, the schools could eliminate duplicative administrative jobs, merge administrative tasks like payroll, and purchase commodities at lower rates thanks to the benefits of buying in bulk.
New Jersey’s auditor is hardly alone in his thinking.