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For Rural Indiana District Consolidation Could Cut Costs, Expand Offerings

A rural district in eastern Indiana may consolidate with a nearby school system due to declining enrollment and budget concerns, according to a recent article by The Star Press.

The Union school district, which serves about 340 students in eastern Indiana, has cut about $450,000 in expenses over the past three years, but still has outstanding debt amidst declining enrollment and state support. Supporters of the consolidation say a larger district will provide more academic classes and resources to students, but some opponents question if other districts are financially solid enough to take on Union's students.

Small, rural schools nationwide have faced closure recently due to shrinking enrollments and budgets. In Vermont, legislators recently considered consolidating the state's 273 districts into fewer than 60 districts to cut down on administrative costs.

Some research has found that consolidation and the resulting larger schools can offer more courses and professional development for teachers, although other research shows that small schools often have higher graduation rates and equal or better test scores than larger schools. A 2013 report suggested that states could save millions of dollars by consolidating small districts. 

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