Consolidating school districts pros cons

Speakers focused on such areas as New Jersey, North Carolina, and Tennessee schools.

House Education Committee votes unanimously Monday on a resolution that asks for a legislative study on the pros and cons of consolidating some for the state’s 500 school districts.

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The process is expected to take months, but the proposal started dividing the community months before the committee formally adopted it Feb. Committee members, who approved the recommendation 25-11 (some members were absent), say their merger plan will save taxpayers money, improve education and make our community more attractive to new businesses and young families.

Critics say the opposite: It won’t achieve savings or improve schools and would disrupt education and decades of high school tradition.

He served on the 48-member Facilities Planning Committee and on the subcommittee that helped write its recommendation.

Education: Having a background as a parent of educators and as a professional engineer/manager, I can say simply that having good facilities is good for education, having good teachers is good for education and having good administrators who can identify and provide the best curriculum and educational programs is good for education.

However, the Legislature also increased the number of administrators and teachers with the 1997 passage of the state charter school law and the cyber charter school law a few years later. For example, in the 2000-01 school year, there were 1.8 million students, Department of Education records show.

In the 2014-15 school year there were 1.7 million, or about 5.2 percent fewer students. Jim Christiana, R- Beaver, pointed out that Pennsylvania has more than 7,000 full-time administrators in its schools.

Their concerns came down to "'why should we pay this municipality's debt? But another York county lawmaker said administrative cuts might overpower any cost-saving doubts.

The Red Lion School District cut administrators and hasn't raised property taxes for five years, said Rep. Saylor echoed Vereb and Christiana in affirming that letting go of administrators could be an appropriate and useful measure."We have to look at better ways of delivering service," Saylor said. We have been doings things for a long time the same way, and we're getting the same results in some school districts. And our kids deserve better."The resolution now moves to the full House for a vote.

The study would be done by the Legislature's Joint State Government Commission and the Independent Fiscal Office. During the committee hearing, he framed the resolution as a chance to cut the number of administrators and use the savings to hire more teachers or invest in classrooms.

Merging school districts could help taxpayers in counties where student populations are dropping, said Rep.

Nelson Graham, former assistant city manager of the city of Longview, has 44 years of experience as a professional engineer/manager.

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