Gov. Jennifer Granholm has advocated school district consolidations as a means of increasing public school efficiency. Moreover, she has asked legislators for the power to force district mergers, at her discretion.[1]

Elaborating on that request, she has suggested that merging "small" districts would be her main priority, since exceptionally large districts, such as Detroit, might already be too big. The governor also identified districts suffering from declining enrollment as candidates for compelled consolidation.[2]

The present study aims to evaluate the merits of district consolidation by determining the relationship between district size and per-pupil expenditures in Michigan. It will attempt to answer several questions:

  • Is there an optimal size for school districts?

  • If so, what is it?

  • Is bigger really better?

  • How does forcing "small" districts to consolidate compare to other possible reforms as a means of saving taxpayers money?