One remark was “Most of the opposition [to consolidation] was due to a large majority of small school not wanting their little kingdom disrupted, even at the expense of educational standards.” We see similar remarks made today.A note in the memo mentions a 1992 report of school consolidation efforts in other states, finding that “consolidating school districts led to a minor savings in administrative costs but major savings would result only from closing schools, reducing the number of teachers, and increasing class sizes.” Kansas school spending advocates tell us that reducing teachers and increasing class sizes would be a disaster for children.
Kansas Senator Chris Steineger, who is a Democrat representing Kansas City, recently asked the Kansas Legislative Research Department for information about school consolidation in Kansas. (Today there are 296 districts.) The goal during the 1960s was to produce school districts that had at least 400 students in grades 1-12, or at least 200 square miles and an assessed valuation of at least million.
He drafted the bill in response to an audit that indicated the state could save money that it spends in aid for districts that are considered too small, many by choice.
It was the third time in the past three years that legislators have tried to adjust the funding provision and push some of the 293 Kansas districts to merge their operations.
Starting in 2017, it would cut the number of school districts by more than half, down to 132, by forming one countywide district in each county with fewer than 10,000 students.
And in counties with more than 10,000 students, districts would be realigned so that every district in that county has at least 1,500 students.