The term “electoral systems” is hereby used to refer to a very specific catalogue of norms and procedures used in an election to decide how to choose those who will hold the positions in dispute.Elections can be set apart from two distinct perspectives: the first one is related to the different levels of government in which a country is divided (national, state or local level).There are several reasons for this: empirical studies of consolidation employ different analytical approaches to data; older data in some studies yield results that may not be representative of current district conditions; studies do not uniformly separate costs related to merging only a narrow range of district services from costs related to merging entire districts or combining schools; different studies focus on different costs or estimate costs in different ways; and much of the literature consists of advocacy.However, while the literature on consolidation may not provide a direct road map for making decisions, it does provide a useful overview of issues, together with estimates of cost savings and cautions for those going forward with consolidation.Many educators and communities are searching for evidence on the best way to provide a high-quality education for their children and to make the best use of their education funds.One area that is of perennial interest is how to best configure the grades in local schools.
The evidence detailed in this brief suggests that “a century of consolidation has already produced most of the efficiencies obtainable” and that poor regions benefit from smaller schools and districts.
Before the consolidation, he says, “we were slipping into the deep abyss, and if we hadn’t done consolidation when we did, who knows where we’d be?
” Since then, he says, the quality of services has improved, thanks to economies achieved by combining duplicative departments.
A frequent question to the Reference Desk, and one currently receiving increased national attention due to budget challenges, is whether consolidating school districts might result in lower overall costs for education.
Unfortunately, research on consolidation does not offer definitive guidance for making such decisions.