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Conversely, California school districts average 6,067 students.
If Illinois school districts served the same number of students as California, Illinois would have 500 fewer school districts than it has today.
School district consolidation should focus on reining in the duplicative costs of district administration only – not on equalizing salary contracts or funding new facilities.
The state should not provide any incentives for those items, nor should it mandate any school consolidations.
Arguments for consolidation, which merges schools or districts and centralizes their management, rest primarily on two presumed benefits: (1) fiscal efficiency and (2) higher educational quality.
The extent of consolidation varies across states due to their considerable differences in history, geography, population density, and politics.
On average, Illinois school districts serve just 2,399 students per district, the fifth-lowest among states with school populations over 1 million.
Nearly all districts have superintendents and secretaries, as well as additional personnel in human resources, special education, facilities management, business management and technology.
Many districts retain at least one assistant superintendent as well.
Many of its nearly 7,000 units of local government are overlapping, duplicative and contribute to Illinois’ growing debt, waste and corruption.
These local units of government are also responsible for Illinois’ growing property taxes, which already rank as the third-highest in the country.