In South Carolina, as in other states around the nation, school district consolidation is a perennial theme.
This year, in addition to the usual bill to force consolidation by county, state leaders are promoting possible financial incentives to encourage district and school mergers, including leveling teacher pay for districts that consolidate and funding construction for schools that agree to merge.
Consolidation is always a convenient talking point, far easier in every state than tackling hard decisions about adequately funding districts in poor areas. It’s important to realize, though, that while mergers may serve the interests of some districts, what’s good for some isn’t necessarily right for all. As an abundance of research shows, consolidation is not the financial panacea its proponents imply, nor is it necessarily in the best academic interest of many of our state’s students.