Auditors conducted the study of the potential cost savings after an efficiency report commissioned by the Legislature recommended pursuing consolidation.
Though previously scheduled, the report was released the day after a Senate budget committee endorsed mid-year cuts to K-12 schools, putting the educational community on edge.
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But $24 million of that amount would come from shifting health insurance costs from districts and to employees, drawing bipartisan concern from lawmakers.
The report also said quickly consolidating would prove difficult.
The report’s conclusions also hold implications for the Legislature’s budget debate. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal assumes $40 million in savings from consolidation in fiscal year 2018, which begins this July, and $80 million in 2019.
The report, based on a sample of 101 of the state’s 286 districts, found that districts could achieve savings through the increased efficiency of using a statewide plan, which would reduce administrative costs.
Numbers such as these have long drawn the ire of policymakers, and in an era of budget cutbacks, “fragmented” school districts serve as prime targets for consolidation.