Consolidating school districts pros cons

The Arcadia schools serve roughly 575 students, nearly 100 of which are students who reside outside the district but are schooled in Arcadia under open enrollment, according to district officials. “This issue [of merger] has been going on for 40 years.The last vote was in the eighties and we missed talking about it by 10 votes from the Vanlue side,” said Mike Recker, Arcadia’s co-chair on the proposed study commission.

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Fordham Institute analyzed district pupil-administrator ratios and found the state average is 150.2 pupils per administrator, with the most top-heavy district (Bettsville Local) at 37.4 and the leanest, New Albany-Plain Local, at 308.6.The analysis found, not surprisingly, that the smallest districts had fewer students per administrator than the largest districts. The newspaper compared administrative spending by the Westerville City Schools with that of eight smaller districts in Tuscarawas County that together serve about the same number of students as Westerville.The last voluntary mergers were in 1988 (three) and 1989 (one), but the trend more recently has been for districts to split, Ebright said.Bitterness around forced consolidations has been given as a reason for why levies fail in some newly consolidated districts. Americans have always been fond of their local schools.They not only educate young people but also serve as community centers and important points of community identification.

Just about the first thing pioneers did in a new territory was to erect a school and every little hamlet across the country had one.

Recker expects significant savings by reducing duplicated services such as transportation and administrative expenses.

Arcadia, for example, employs two principals and one superintendent.

“If consolidation is such a good idea why haven’t we done it all over the state recently?

” He also questioned whether Ohio administrative costs are as skewed as the Brookings-Greater Ohio report suggests.

District mergers and consolidations are being discussed not only in Ohio but in Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, and elsewhere.