Arkansas’ policy of consolidating its smallest school districts has caused 47 school closings, mainly in poor and minority communities, according to a new report released by the Rural School and Community Trust, an Arlington, Va., based nonprofit organization that promotes the improvement of rural schools.
The vast majority of the closings occurred when larger school districts annexed smaller ones, rather than when two or more small districts joined together to form a new, larger district, the report found.
The report concluded that more than two-thirds of African-American students in annexed districts saw their schools close during a two year period, more than two times the rate for other students in annexed districts.
The study also found that nearly half the schools that closed after annexation were in the Mississippi Delta region.
A version of this article appeared in the June 07, 2006 edition of Education Week