Rural School Consolidation

  • Joe Bard NREA Consolidation Task Force
  • Clark Gardener NREA Consolidation Task Force
  • Regi Wieland NREA Consolidation Task Force


The consolidation of rural schools in the United States has been a controversial topic for policy-makers, school administrators, and rural communities since the 1800s. At issue in the consolidation movement have been concerns of efficiency, economics, student achievement, school size, and community identity. Throughout the history of schooling in America, school consolidation has been a way to solve rural issues in the eyes of policy makers and many education officials. Today, faced with declining enrollments and financial cutbacks, many rural schools and communities continue to deal with challenges associated with possible school reorganizations and consolidations. This paper, developed by the NREA Consolidation Task Force, provides a review of the literature on rural school consolidation, defines consolidation, addresses current research and issues related to consolidation with respect to school size, economies of scale, and student achievement, and concludes with proposed recommendations for the NREA Executive Board.  


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How to Cite
Bard, J., Gardener, C., & Wieland, R. (2018). Rural School Consolidation. The Rural Educator, 27(2).
National Rural Education Association Report