Out of 295 school districts in Washington, 14 percent have 100 or fewer students and 37 percent have from 101 to 999 students.
Districts with 300 or fewer students are funded under a different formula than larger districts.
“We get the same amount whether we have four or 180 students,” said Judy Naught, Bickleton School District’s business manager. Bickleton’s budget is about $1.8 million annually, and 95 percent of that comes from the state.
A recent study by a Washington legislative committee found that smaller school districts in Washington typically get a larger share of their budget from the state, but even so, those districts only receive 2 percent of state money allocated to K-12 education.
Last year, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee was asked to research consolidating smaller districts to cut costs.
“You can consolidate, but you won’t necessarily have any savings, and it’s such a small part of the budget,” said Mark Fleming, a committee member.
For some districts, it’s not practical because they are too far apart, state officials said.
State officials are continuing to research ways to reduce expenses in the districts with fewer than 1,000 students by combining selected operations, such as business management.