Rural School District Consolidation
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 4 No. 2 (2003): Vol-4-Issue-2-February-2003
The consolidation of rural schools in the United States has been a controversial topic for policy-makers,
school administrators, and rural communities since the 1800s. At issue in the consolidation movement
have been concerns of efficiency, economics, student achievement, school size, and community
identity. Throughout the history of schooling in America, school consolidation has been a way to solve
rural issues in the eyes of policy makers and many education officials. Today, faced with declining
enrollments and financial cutbacks, many rural schools and communities continue to deal with
challenges associated with possible school reorganizations and consolidations.
This paper, developed by the NREA Consolidation Task Force, provides a review of the literature on
rural school consolidation, defines consolidation, addresses current research and issues related to
consolidation with respect to school size, economies of scale, and student achievement, and
concludes with proposed recommendations for the NREA Executive Board.