Two interesting pieces of related information that I've stumbled across in recent weeks: the high school football teams in both Republic and Garfield-Palouse had to give up 11-man football because of a lack of players.
It's interesting watching the demographic shifts impact our small towns here in Eastern Washington. Where a farm family used to be 3, 4, 5 kids or more, it's now far more rare to see a family that big. Similarly, you used to see 10 families each farming 160 acres, and now you'll find 2 families each doing 800.
These are generalizations, surely, and may not fit for every town and every situation. What is apparent is that there are towns in our state that are struggling more than ever, and the school districts that support those towns are struggling right along with them.
This is why I have every expectation that school district consolidation will come back up during the upcoming legislative session in January. Fair or not, some districts are going to have to make an affirmative case for why they should continue, instead of the assumption being that they will continue. Given the reality of HB2261 and the spending it will require it's clear that the legislature is going to need to pinch every penny to make the plan work.
In some cases, that might mean pinching our rural towns as well.