Well the talk has started again for consolidation of school districts in the state as the handpicked representative of Vision 2015 is looking at starting with Human Resources. So my first question is does this mean that the state and DSEA will sit down to negotiate contracts at the county level? In addition, I see no mention of “leveling up” in the article in the News Journal, which to me would be something that would have to happen in order to make things equitable for all staff. The article goes on to state clearly that it is not clear whether this consolidation would have any savings value.
If the secretary and Governor want to see a savings in education, there are a couple of areas they could start with:
1. Find a state assessment system that actually gives feedback in real time to schools so they can address accountability.
2. Look at statewide curriculum and set a standard that focuses on ALL students not just those who want to go to college.
3. How about offering real vocational education to those students who do not want college, instead of our current comprehensive Vo-techs that service fewer students, but spend more per student!
4. Want consolidation ideas how about one district office for both Vocational in Kent & Sussex instead of duplicate $100k staffs at each?
5. Lastly, how about the consolidation of staff positions at DOE, which to use corporate terms is a top-heavy overhead cost, which is providing little to the bottom line!
A couple of other bloggers mentioned House Resolution #54 that was a study on the feasibility of consolidation in the lower counties. This report which was not mentioned in the article stated that there were several issues that would actually cost rather then save the state with consolidation. One I mentioned earlier was in the summary of HR #54 says, “Having a single school system in a county implies having a single salary schedule. This analysis concluded that to level-up salaries in the two counties, would yield a net cost of $7.2 million initially and on a continuing basis thereafter.” The other issue mentioned in HR#54 that was buried in the summary was that funding Equalization needs to be addressed by the State Equalization Committee prior to considering any type of district consolidation.