The Manitoba government recently reduced the total number of school divisions in the province from 54 to 37. Its main purpose so was to save costs on administration.
The Manitoba FRAME report provides a yearly accounting of school division spending. If larger school divisions are more efficient than smaller divisions, the difference would be expected to show up in the FRAME data.
Tiny school divisions (under 1000 students) do have higher per pupil expenditure rates and administration costs. However, the vast majority of divisions (those with more than 1000 students) show very little relationship between size and rates of spending.
The largest school division in the province, Winnipeg School Division #1, has very high per pupil costs while much smaller divisions within the city have much lower per pupil costs.
Some mid-sized school divisions like Hanover and Garden Valley have very low per-pupil expenditures and administrative costs. Emulating examples like these makes more sense than simply creating larger divisions.
The school board model itself, with its diffuse funding sources, lies at the heart of the problem. It is time to think about a more transparent and accountable model.
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