Advantages of consolidating school districts within a state, together we won't
But studies show the anticipated savings usually don't materialize. And last June, when Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts announced his comprehensive education reform agenda, he made consolidation a top priority.
Today, more than a dozen states - including Maine and Vermont - have seriously considered or already implemented plans for fewer, larger districts. If states are truly serious about cost savings, they should be focusing on breaking up big districts rather than combining smaller ones, he says. Proponents insist that larger districts are cheaper. Governor Quinn has proposed lowering the transportation budget for the districts at the same time that students will have to travel longer distances to get to their classes. But if the four districts are unified, isostasy is an absolute dating technique then it can quickly become affordable to hire one itinerant music teacher.
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton is on record as favoring the addition of incentives to sweeten the deal for local districts that are merging. With budgets under fire, consolidation is again gaining traction as a way to save money.
The very process of consolidation is expensive, including new buildings and the often-substantial financial incentives states give to local communities to encourage mergers. The national studies on consolidation and research from other states are not particularly relevant, he argues, saying each state has a different educational structure. These findings challenged the entire consolidation movement, which was spearheaded with almost no critical inquiry by state officials and educational administrators, says Berry. The economic impact to local communities from this lost revenue is another blow to economies already hard hit.
Governor Patrick is on an ambitious schedule. Elaine McArdle is a writer in Cambridge. There is also the issue of autonomy, which is seen as a potent pull toward maintaining the status quo. But a competing report in Massachusetts has found that small districts achieve better academic results. West and published in in the Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, also concluded that spending on education did not decrease following consolidation.
Together we won't
Moreover, efforts to ease the path toward regionalization included creating new jobs for occupants of duplicated positions. Proponents of consolidation always mention the savings, but it should be noted that some costs will go up, not down. There are educational improvements. In Maine, consolidation opponents are pushing this option.
Merging them into larger units, advocates said, would lead to a more efficient system, reducing costs while offering students more opportunities and producing better academic results. Virtually every district in the state is a candidate for consolidation if it's determined that merging with another district would benefit its academic performance, according to J. Yet there's rarely any discussion of this option, in Massachusetts or elsewhere.
Quinn is planning to place Lt. Even if there are many administrators who make more than the Governor, they will not be the only layoffs to occur as a result of consolidation.
These costs will continue to rise as the cost of gasoline rises, which seems likely to continue over the long term. Many studies have attested to the negative impact of poverty on educational prospects of students. Languages are another good example. Meanwhile, Coulson has data that should give consolidation proponents real pause.
There was no standardized testing of student performance at the time. In December, the governor's office released a study that found that larger districts in Massachusetts were academically outpacing smaller ones. How legislatures craft bills about consolidation can play a huge role in the success of the effort. Maine may have made some mistakes in basing compliance on the potential for punitive measures, rather than convincing people of the benefits. Several years ago, when Michigan began promoting consolidation, the Cato Institute's Coulson undertook a study there and in three other states and reached the same conclusion as Berry.
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