A Study of Large Scale Student Sharing Programs by Smaller Iowa School Districts
The problem: The purpose of this project was to study an apparent trend in the state of Iowa for neighboring school districts to enter into sharing agreements whereby entire grades from one school attend classes in another district. By discovering the reasons for this recent relationship between districts, it may be possible to predict what the future direction of school district size and configuration may be in Iowa. The impact of recent legislation with regard to financial incentives for small school districts to share students, teachers, administrators and facilities will also be determined. Procedure. The subjects for this study were the board of education presidents, superintendents, and secondary principals in those schools in Iowa who were involved in whole grade sharing programs during the 1986-87 school year. Each of these subjects was asked to respond to a survey instrument relating to facts, feelings and opinions with regard to their school and whole grade sharing. Findings. Whole grade sharing programs came about primarily for two major reasons: the loss of enrollment in the local school district and the desire to maintain or improve curricular offerings for students. It was the opinion of school administrators that the sharing programs would eventually lead to reorganization of the two districts into one school district. It was also the opinion of all groups surveyed that the attitude of both the student and adult populations toward the sharing program was very positive. Recommendations: As a result of this study, it would be recommended that those very small school districts in Iowa seriously consider exploring the possibility of developing sharing agreements with neighbori:rg schools. A positive influence on curriculum offerings results from such arrangements. The positive attitude of the people involved indicates that such programs can be a via ble alternative to the problems of declining enrollment and curriculum curtailment due to number of students and teachers available.
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