18 school districts recommended for consolidation

A Colorado consulting firm on Monday identified 18 school districts – most of them in the Delta – that, if consolidated into neighboring districts, could yield cost savings and improved test scores.

“They’re small and they’re low performing and they’re high spending in terms of spending for district-level administration,” said John Augenblick, president of Augenblick, Palaich and Associates Inc.

Augenblick delivered the study’s findings Monday to a panel Gov. Haley Barbour called in late 2009 to study the feasibility of school consolidation.

“We think that good things will happen if you pull this off,” said Augenblick, whose firm played a key role in the 1990s in developing the Mississippi Adequate Education Program funding formula for school districts.

While no decisions were made on the report, this is arguably the first serious discussion about school consolidation in Mississippi in years.