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Advantages consolidating schools

Because consolidation often combines classes and increases their size, fewer teachers need to be employed.

Consolidated schools, moreover, do not normally employ as many administrative personnel as did the separate schools.

Consolidation of schools has both curricular and financial advantages.

Research also suggests that impoverished regions in particular often benefit from smaller schools and districts, and they can suffer irreversible damage if consolidation occurs.

For these reasons, decisions to deconsolidate or consolidate districts are best made on a case-by-case basis.

Consolidation of schools also can produce psychological benefits.

When combined, schools often gain a confidence and an identity in the community they did not previously possess (Kay 1982).

Concerns for economic efficiency and school size must not outweigh the effect of school consolidation on the community.

Only by granting equal importance to all the major factors can decision-makers ensure that "narrow concerns about formal schooling do not unconsciously override broader educational concerns and the general well-being of the community to which those broader educational concerns are intimately connected" (Kay 1982).

FOR MORE INFORMATION Beckner, Weldon, and Linda O'Neal.

"A New View of Smaller Schools." NASSP BULLETIN 64 (October l980):1-7. "Consolidating High Schools: One District's Answer." SPECTRUM l (Spring l983):15-22. DECLINING ENROLLMENTS AND SMALL RURAL CITIES AND DISTRICTS: AN EXPLORATORY ANALYSIS. "Shrinking Enrollment and Consolidation: Political and Organizational Impacts in Arlington, Virginia l973-78." EDUCATION AND URBAN SOCIETY 11 (May l979):367-395. "Richmond's Progressive Solution to Decling Enrollments." PHI DELTA KAPPAN 6l (May l980):6l6-6l7. "Considerations in Evaluating School Consolidation Proposals." SMALL SCHOOL FORUM 4 (Fall l982):8-10. "What We've Accomplished Since WWII." PRINCIPAL 63 (January l984):7-13.

According to Kay (1982), a leading research analyst in the school consolidation field, a school system "considering consolidation ought to investigate the nature, extent, and strength of other community institutions and social service agencies serving any community facing possible loss of its schools." In places where the school is the sole source of community services, loss of the schools would be greatly felt.

School officials in such cases should be reluctant to consolidate.

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