Commission Says School District Mergers Could Cost Illinois Billions
A commission studying Illinois education says forcing small school districts to merge could cost state government billions of dollars.
The huge price could kill any chance that the Classrooms First Commission will recommend mandatory consolidation. Several commission members told The Associated Press that there is little support for that approach.
The commission was created after Gov. Pat Quinn proposed reducing the roughly 870 Illinois school districts down to just 300. He said that would save $100 million in administrative salaries.
The commission looked at a hypothetical plan to merge all individual high school and elementary districts. It concluded the mergers would cost state government at least $3.7 billion. That's because the state is required to help new districts pay staff and teachers.