School consolidation remains tough political sell

Oklahoma has too many school districts and could save nearly $30 million if it had a number of districts more in line with states of similar size, according to a policy paper recently published by an education professor.

In a report titled “Right-sizing Oklahoma Districts,” James Machell, dean of the University of Central Oklahoma College of Education and Professional Studies, highlights Oklahoma as an outlier when it comes to the number of school districts.

With 525 school districts last year, Oklahoma had three times the number found in most states with statewide enrollment of a comparable size.

Oklahoma served about 700,000 students last year.

“It sounds like common sense to say we need fewer school districts, but I also understand that this issue is political dynamite,” Machell said.

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