A commission evaluating ways to consolidate small school districts is finding it hard to deliver savings. Gov. Pat Quinn created the Classrooms First Commission to find ways to eliminate 300 or so of the state’s 865 school districts, presumably saving $100 million on administrative costs.
Commission members say they can’t recommend mandatory consolidation of small districts, because that would actually cost money. The governor says there are still ways to do this and save. “It may require some adjustments in the current law, because I don’t think the current law would envision the kind of fundamental restructuring that we hope to get,” he said.
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The commission looked at a plan to require all districts with a single school to merge with other districts, and concluded the cost would be $3.7 billion because the state is required to help new districts pay staff and teachers.