Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching & Learning


The purpose of this study was to ascertain whether various factors may be identified as having either inhibiting or promoting influence on school consolidation considerations in South Dakota public school districts. In addition, the study sought to identify clusters of factors by direction, intensity, and nature as perceived by the three groups surveyed.

The survey population included superintendents and school board presidents from eighty-five school districts with reported high school enrollments, in grades 9-12, of 100 or fewer students, and the entire 105-member legislative body of South Dakota. A self-designed survey instrument consisting of four separate sections--(I) assumptions, (II) factor identification, (III) open-ended response questions, and (IV) demographic variables--was used to gather data for this study.

The instrument secured perceptions regarding the promoting or inhibiting direction and major or minor intensity of influence of thirty-five identified factors which might occur as a result of consolidation. Data were also analyzed using certain demographic variables. The data were analyzed using Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U-tests.

Analyses of the data permitted several findings. On the major focus of the study, no factors were perceived as "major promoting" or "major inhibiting" factors. Instead, most factors were recognized as "minor promoting" or "minor inhibiting" factors to consolidation considerations.

As part of the study, the writer solicited perceptions regarding whether respondents agreed that eight specified assumptions inclined districts to actively consider consolidation. While there were significant differences between paired groups on two of the assumptions, all groups consistently rated the assumptions between "agree" and "strongly agree."

Significant differences occurred on few of the eight assumptions and thirty-five factors when comparing paired groups by age, community population, and high school enrollment size. More frequent significant differences occurred when comparisons were analyzed by attitude toward consolidation.

The result of an activity which "clustered" factors did not suggest that school boards and superintendents should address economic factors as a priority over educational or socio-political factors, or vice versa, during consolidation considerations. Consolidation was perceived as a complex process involving numerous factors of varying nature and intensity.

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