More School District Consolidation

The consolidation of school districts in Kansas continues.

From the Topeka Capital-Journal (registration required):

In Washington County, residents voted 727-125 in unofficial polling to consolidate North Central Unified School District 221 and Washington Schools USD 222. The new district will be called Washington County Schools.

Washington County residents were not the only ones to agree that bigger is better, or at least, inevitable:

In neighboring Republic County, voters approved the consolidation of Hillcrest Rural Schools USD 455 and Republic County USD 427 with an unofficial count of 1,140-166. The new district will be called the Republic County School District.

Together, today’s four districts enroll about 1,000 students.

So on July 1, six districts will merge into three. Voters in Jewell County already approved the merger of White Rock and Mankato school districts.

This trend is fueled by the ongoing depopulation of rural counties. What can be done about that? Perhaps not much. But for a variety of reasons, including community identity and to minimize the power of distant bureaucracies, those who make policy ought to look into ways to foster the expansion of options for students in rural areas.

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