Also, 61 percent of superintendents said they’d be willing to consider consolidating.
The majority of superintendents believed merged districts could provide more and better academic enrichment and extra-curricular opportunities.
Superintendent Jay Badams said the state's rejection of the district's financial recovery plan on Monday has left the district with little choice but to consolidate its high schools and close two elementary schools starting in the 2017-18 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
The building changes, he said, would save the district at least million and help eliminate a projected million budget deficit in 2017-18. The 11,500-student Erie School District started to plan for sweeping changes on Tuesday, a day after the state Department of Education denied the district's plan, which asked for .8 million in additional annual state aid.
On the down side, superintendents worried that providing more services could come at the expense of individualized attention.
The study found 34 pairings that could potentially save about million if consolidation resulted in lowering per-pupil costs to the average spent by similarly sized districts across the state.
Consolidated districts also were expected to provide more academic services, although students could lose the personal attention they enjoy in smaller districts.
Standard & Poor’s analysis of the state’s 501 school districts determined districts with fewer than 500 students spend an average of ,674 per pupil in operating costs.
But the district had hoped to proceed gradually with the consolidations and school closings, mainly to give students and parents more time to plan.
The district has scrapped the incremental approach.