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But these same local taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for multiple layers of government – in the form of school districts – that duplicate services, waste tax dollars, increase government debt, and decrease transparency.

Given the challenges facing consolidation efforts, district consolidation will only happen when the state partners with local districts to discuss concerns and craft a solution.

Those savings don’t include the massive reduction in pension costs that would also occur through consolidation.

The consolidation solution This report does not encourage school consolidation – the decision to consolidate schools should remain in the hands of local taxpayers.

The cost of administrative staffs at school districts adds up quickly.

Nearly all districts have superintendents and secretaries, as well as additional personnel in human resources, special education, facilities management, business management and technology.

Florida, for example, averages 40,012 students per district.

Georgia, North Carolina, California and Virginia all serve more than twice the 2,400 students per district Illinois does.

Illinois has the most units of local government of any state in the country.

Many of its nearly 7,000 units of local government are overlapping, duplicative and contribute to Illinois’ growing debt, waste and corruption.

More than three-quarters of Illinois’ superintendents have six-figure salaries, and many also get additional benefits in car and housing allowances, as well as bonuses.

In addition, their high salaries lead to pension benefits of million to million each over the course of their retirements.

By 1955, the state had cut the number of districts to 2,242, and by the year 2000, the district count had fallen to 894. Nearly 45 percent are elementary, 12 percent are secondary (high school), and 45 percent are unit districts, meaning they serve both elementary and secondary students.