Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2013


Great Plains Research 23.2 (Fall 2013), pp. 145-157.


Copyright © 2013 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


This research article examines how per-pupil spending on public primary and secondary education in Nebraska varies by school district size, and whether expenditures are expected to rise or fall after districts consolidate. We find a U-shaped relationship between per-pupil spending and the number of students per school district in Nebraska. We also find a similar relationship between property tax base and the number of students per school district. However, our analysis of perpupil spending before and after consolidation fails to find consistent evidence that consolidation lowered per-pupil spending, in either rural or non-rural districts. The gains from consolidation become even more uncertain after considering the impact of consolidation on parent and student time costs, school quality, and community vitality.