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Gov. Kasich’s push for a study of school consolidation timely



Published: Sun, August 7, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

Four years ago, Tom Humphries, chief executive officer of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber, ignited a fire-storm when he broached the idea of consolidating the 45 school districts in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties into three. Not surprisingly, schools superintendents and other district officials were most vocal in their opposition.

By contrast, many private sector taxpayers were intrigued by the notion of millions of dollars — Humphries provided a range of $50 million to $70 million — being cut in administrative costs and the money being funneled into the classrooms.

The issue of consolidation never made it beyond the talking stage, but now it’s back on the front burner — at the state level. Republican Gov. John Kasich has asked the Ohio General Assembly to create a commission to study the feasibility of consolidating school districts in Ohio. There are a total of 614; the last time they were looked at with an eye to reducing the cost of public education was in the 1960s.

“The issue of consolidation has to be considered,” Kasich told Ohio Public Radio. “I have to prove to people what we are going to get from it. And it’s not going to be a commission so we can navel-gaze. It’s going to be a commission that is going to look at what they do around the country, what the research has shown. And they will do their own research.”

While the primary goal of consolidation is saving money, the Cincinnati Inquirer quoted the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee as saying that academic quality could be improved. When smaller districts are merged with larger one, the students from the smaller ones have more access to the resources of the larger districts.

Rep. Peter Beck, R-Medina, told the Inquirer that he also wants to study the possibility of using mergers to avoid duplications of high-paid district administrators, such as superintendents, treasurers and curricula directors.

In any discussion of public education in Ohio, the issue of funding kindergarten through 12th grade has been the most difficult to resolve.

Constitutional requirement

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional to depend primarily on property taxes for funding. A “thorough and efficient” education cannot be provided to each Ohio child if there are disparities between rich and poor districts due to revenue disparities.

Gov. Kasich and the Republican controlled General Assembly should take up the issue of school funding as part of the study on consolidation.

Kasich’s predecessors argued that the Supreme Court’s ruling had been met through the school construction program bearing a price tag of billions of dollars.

However, with the state’s economy in turmoil, such additional funding for public education will not be available.

The governor has opened the door to a full review of the K-12 system in Ohio.


Comments

1SAVEOURCOUNTRY(467 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Teacher cost are not the problem in school districts.
This would be the first thing I would agree with KaSICK on. However, since its clear he is out to screw teachers, I can see him cutting teachers jobs in half with this move while maintaining all central office staff with school district consolidation.

Keep whats wrong and get rid of whats right!!!!

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2jmagaratz(162 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Consolidation of schools again!

Been there, done that!

The last consolidation of schools occurred in the 1910's under Governor John Cox--Democrat.

All the one-room schools were consolidated into township schools.

It was done before and it can be done again.

All that is needed is a legislature with guts because the OH Constitution says that the LEGISLATURE shall prescribe the thorough and efficient system of public education. Not the Governor or the Chambers of Commerce.

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3Tellingthetruth(11 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Isn't funny that the governor wants to consolidate schools. However, on the other hand he wants more charter schools so he can continue to make his buddies rich. First off, consolidation is going to take lots of money too. New schools=large chunks of money. Second, you're still going to need the same amount of teachers or does he want 40-50 kids in each class? We all know that is really going to help the students become 21st century bound, NOT!!! Third, why is it the governor constantly attacking the working class. It 's ok your a republican who enjoys taking from the poor and middle class.
Here is the answer.... cut things such as, welfare and all the free hand outs given out to losers who never want to work. Figure out ways to get more jobs into Ohio and keep the current ones here. We know this is not your priority...LIAR!!!
I completely understand some smaller school districts are struggling to survive so maybe for them that is the answer. For the ones doing fine leave them alone. We should be consolidating transportation, superintendants, central office staff...

How about changing school funding. Again, that won't happen because that would mean richer schools may get less funds. We know the governor is not about taking away from the "Rich."
How about getting with all your other republican governors and start making the rich pay taxes.

It is clear that the governor could care less about the future of Ohio.

What a turd!!

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4m8ke_the_call(105 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

School consulidation at the county level would probably be the best way to accomplish this! Mahoning County could have one Board of Education, one superintendent and maybe 3 or so assistant supers, and share a ton of the costs! The schools themselves probably wouldnt even be moved, though small districts inbetween larger districts could be absorbed; a good example of this would be the breaking up of Western Reserve into Canfield and South Range, Jackson-Milton being absorbed into Austintown, and coitsville and lowellville combining. Bam right there hundreds of thousands of dollars saved!

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5UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Urban and Suburban County districts make sense. Just don't mix the urban thugs with our suburban students if you combine the districts.

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6jmagaratz(162 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

m8ke-the-call:

Mahoning County was organized as a county system around 1915 or so.
Its first Superintendent of Schools was Jerome Hull who was removed on April 20, 1932. He went on to establish the Whitehouse Farm business.

It was done before and it can be done again.

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7franc004(71 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Hmmm. Already I can see the problems. We want to consolidate to save money, but we don't want to mix, to use Union Forever's language "urban thugs" with suburbanites--ugh. And to TTT, Kasich's school czar has already said in the Columbus Dispatch that it makes no difference whether there are 20 or 40 kids in a classroom, so there's your answer. Of course the big stumbling block, and the question on everybody's minds will be...What does this mean for our beloved High School football teams?

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8atownreader(34 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

I am a democrat and have opposed most of Kasich's ideas, primarily SB5; however the school consolidation is a must. When I moved here in 94, I could see that all those little school districts with all those separate administrators was silly. How soon can this happen? NOT SOON ENOUGH!

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