8 Minn. school districts combine to become 4

Author:
Publish date:

MPR reports that eight school districts in Minnesota are combining into four new districts this spring and summer, the most consolidations in 16 years, according to the Minnesota Department of Education.

The districts that are combining into one:

Northwest Minnesota: Oklee and Plummer

Central Minnesota: Cyrus and Morris

West-central Minnesota: Brandon and Evansville

Southwest Minnesota: Round Lake and Brewster

There was a time in the 1990s in Minnesota when district blending was far more common, MPR notes. But it's never an easy process and parents generally don't like having to bus kids further away. And they are not crazy about giving up some local control. But for districts with sagging enrollment and shrinking budgets, combining districts can be an effective cost-savings tactic, MPR reports. Voters in the Round Lake-Brewster voted overwhelmingly to consolidate.

The state now has 333 school districts, which is about 100 fewer than 20 years ago, MPR noted. The state's Department of Education has a list of district consolidations since 1980.

Consolidation is a long-term, nationwide trend: there were 117,108 school districts in 1939-40, but by 2006-07, the number had dropped to just under 14,000, the School Superintendents Association noted in a 2010 article that examined the pros and cons of consolidation. The group Education Northwest has compiled a list of research papers about the effects of consolidating districts.

Next Up

Related

School district pays $87K in bullying case

The Rochester School Board agreed this week to pay parents who said the district failed to protect their middle school son, who was bullied in a gym locker room, the Post-Bulletin reports. The insurance company of the bully's parents also had to pay.

Students back to school in 30 districts

About 30 districts in Minneapolis sent their students back to school Monday. More than 30,000 students in Minneapolis were among them. New this year in the city: a public transportation program for high school students and a new schools headquarters.