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The author’s aim was to present actual conditions of rural primary schools functioning and the spatial differentiation of their network reorganization with particular emphasis on the consequences of those schools liquidation change their a governing body other from the local government units (LGU) to local community organizators. The study was focused on rural areas of the Małopolskie Voivodship over 2000–2016 period. In the paper were presented the number of pupils and schools (open and closed) and the school governing bodies structure too. Those data, obtained by the author from the Local Data Banks and the Board of Education in Cracow and were presented for each statistical locality. A population and settlement concentration in many rural areas made costs of schools maintenance higher and higher. Thus school governing bodies faced a difficult decision – either to reorganize the actual school network or to spend more on education from the municipal budget. Most complicated structures is observed in the rural areas showing depopulation and dispersed settlement, the zones of traditional agricultural. In all rural areas of the Małopolskie Voivodship, the number of pupils in primary schools during the analysed period decreased nearly by 30%. Thus 118 small rural schools were closed i.e. in the county Miechów, of 43 schools remained only 21. The number of closed schools would be much higher without a activity of the local communities, which began to take over their schools from the LGU. Within rural areas the Małopolskie Voivodship in 2016, 123 schools were run by local organization i.e. over 11,5% of all the rural primary schools.
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