Because consolidation creates larger school districts, it results in lower costs per pupil whenever economies of size exist.Economies of size could arise for many reasons, which we discuss in “Does School District Consolidation Cut Costs? First, the services provided to each student by certain education professionals may not diminish in quality as the number of students increases, at least over some range.John Yinger (left) and William Duncombe, both professors at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, have studied the economics of size in public education.Photo by Candi Patterson/Center for Policy Research, Syracuse University The aid bonus from consolidation can be quite large.Most state governments have policies that influence school district consolidation.
Finally, teachers in larger districts have more colleagues on which to draw for advice and discussion, interactions that presumably lead to improved effectiveness.Some factors indicate consolidation is likely to tap into economies of size and thereby lower these costs, but other factors suggest consolidation might actually cause costs per pupil to rise.As a result, we now turn to empirical studies of consolidation, which can determine whether the net impact of consolidation on costs per pupil is positive or negative.In this context, the cost of education is not the same as education spending but is instead the amount a school district would have to spend to obtain a given level of performance, as measured by test scores, graduation rates and perhaps other output measures.
To put it another way, economies of size exist if spending on education per pupil declines as the number of pupils goes up, controlling for school district performance.
These reactions and closer student-faculty relationships may result in higher student performance at any given spending level.