Sunday, March 20, 2005

County School Districts Bill Steamrolls Over Communities

by Debbie Pelley (Click "Comments" for the article)


Blogger Debbie Pelley said...

Under HB1123

1. There would be one superintendent, one central office, ONE SCHOOL BOARD, and ONE BUDGET for all schools in the county with under 3000 students.(a)(1) The administrative functions of public school districts shall be administratively reorganized so that all schools in a county become one (1) countywide school district and share one (1) countywide administration.

2. The COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD would have proportional representation. This means the board would be dominated by the areas in the county with higher population density, and the rural schools would experience the same lack of representation currently experienced by rural residents in county government.

3. The County School would do just like the schools that merged with the isolated districts are doing - passing a law to close the isolated districts even though all kinds of promises were made to the contrary. Just because this law states it will be administratively only runs contrary to the agenda of the governor and powerful legislators and media. (See for governor's quotes on his philosophy of local control - he doesn't want any.) The next step would be to pass a law to allow county board and superintendent to close any school campus with under 350 and 500 ADM and move on up to those less than 1500.

4. Each individual school would lose control of its funding base, its budget, and its leadership. The "sub-district superintendent" would according to the bill, fill the role "traditionally assigned to a principal."

5. Six of the southeastern states that have county wide school districts score lower on ACT than does. Those states are Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina.

6. West Virginia, whose consolidation was branded as a failure, implemented County Districts and Superintendents. They increased spending per student more than any state in the nation during the last decade. Folliwng are other results:

The number of local administrators has increased by 16% in the last 10 years despite a 13% decrease in student enrollment (41,000 fewer students) and closing of over 300 schools. The number of state-level administrators increased and their salaries nearly doubled between 1990 and 2002.

This bill cynically assumes that all people care about is preserving their names and athletic programs. In return for getting to keep their campuses, their names, and their athletic and extracurricular programs(that is, if they are over 350 ADM or in some cases over 500 ADM), people must surrender all control over daily decision making, administrative leadership, policy making, and funding. It would be a bureaucratic nightmare for teachers and parents.

The Title and Subtitle of the bill says it all: "An Act to Create County School Districts for administrative purposes."
This is NOT about kids, teachers, parents, education, democracy, or common sense. This is about CENTRALIZING CONTROL and WEAKENING the local community.

9:04 PM, March 20, 2005  
Blogger ibcaskme said...

If this comes down the pike at us and makes law. Our immediate response as a citizenry should be NO NEW TAXES!!!!! Until the state gets their act together not another dime out of our pockets. My taxes have increased every year for the last five years over education. Now Fayetteville wants another 4.5 mil increase May 10th special election. This will bring our millage to 50. They want to increase mils for the new library and restructure sales tax for new roads.

These people think it's all their money and they don't have to account to anyone for what they do with it. Public School is a service sector job. To change these to community school districts will set off a real shuffle off the buffalo for all of the administrative positions that will be closed and opened. It will be a free for all until they get it figured out. We should make sure they don't get an extra dime to help make that transition any easier for their policy decisions that aren't necessarily on behalf of their constituents.

7:10 PM, March 29, 2005  

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