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Monday, February 9, 2009

HB 1293: GOP Proposes Consolidating School Administration

School consolidation hasn't gone over well this legislative session:
  • HB 1182, which would have increased the minimum school district size from 100 to 195, died in committee last Tuesday. (But watch out, Rutland, Montrose, et al.: HB 1254 is coming to the plate to take a swing at setting minimum enrollment at 250.)
  • HB 1171 to exempt small schools that are the last school in a county from forced consolidation survived the House.
  • SB 88 to protect sparsity is on track to pass.
But now an idea promoted by some Madville Times commenters has made the agenda: HB 1293 would not close any schools but would require smaller districts to share administrative personnel.

How small is small? Try fall K-12 enrollment of 3,000. Districts with fewer than 3,000 students would need to share "superintendents, assistant superintendents, business managers, and other management level employees." HB 1293 would also create new boards to govern each administration region, consisting of one board member appointed by each constituent district's board.

Statewide, there are just five districts (SF, RC, Aberdeen, Watertown, and Brandon) with enrollments over 3000. By pure math, the other 152 school districts, with a total enrollment of just over 76,000 students, would have to combine into 25 administrative districts.

Some local perspective: if we combined every school district in Lake County (Madison Central, Rutland, Oldham-Ramona, and Chester), we'd have a total school enrollment of 1974. Add Arlington, Howard, and Colman-Egan, and we'd still be about a hundred kids shy of satisfying HB 1293. Madison could find itself in an eight-school administration district.

In other words, HB 1293 could get rid of seven superintendents and seven business managers in our neighborhood alone. 14 jobs, average pay... $50-60K? That could be $700K in savings. Any takers?


  1. Any sensible person would realize that are no savings in this plan. You would just need additional administrators to run the supersized district. The salaries would go up for the fewer jobs wiping out any anticipated savings.

    Now if we wipe out ALL extra curricular activities, teach subjects by computer to students at home and eliminate the need for schools altogether, then we can save money.

  2. When I went to school, admittedly a while ago, we had one supt (who filled in as a teacher if needed), one supt secretary, one high school principal who was also a full-time teacher, and that was the extent of our administration. At present, administration is top heavy with highly paid administrators who do not teach and who don't deserve to be paid over twice what teachers make. Consolidation of administration makes perfect sense to a lot of us. Also, gov't paperwork needs to be cut, and the schools need to get back in the business of educating, not turning out well-rounded individuals.

    A free public education is just that, a free EDUCATION. Let social programs be the responsibltiy of the community, church, and surprise of surprises, PARENTS!

    I think there would be plenty of money if the majority of the money went directly to classrooms, actual teachers (not coaches), and the basics of education. Consolidation of paper-work positions would facilitate this.

  3. I'm really not familiar with daily duties of the current administrators at our public schools. Are they legitimately working at 100% or would there be some room for consolidation? As an administrator, is it important to be at the location of the school or do the jobs basically involve lots of electronic paperwork?

    Could someone knowledgeable in this area describe these positions and responsibilities?

  4. The proof is in the pudding. If six districts with over 3000 students can be administered with one superintendent and management structure - then it follows that far more districts can adhere to a similar model. (Psst 3000 is not a "supersized" district; Omaha has 46,000-that might be a big district.)

    South Dakotans fell in love with government. We have far too many school districts, counties (Wyoming has 23-we are three times less efficient), and legislators (Nebraska has 49 in one house-we are more than twice as inefficient), than we need to efficiently and effectively operate deliverance of state services. All these unneeded management hierarchies siphon off millions of state dollars that should be used to address classroom or direct issues, or diverted to other serve other needs.

  5. Why do we need ANY Superintendents?

    Let the state run it all and eliminate the unnessary local control.

  6. We need to hire the lobbyists that tobacco and video lottery are using, because despite overwhelming evidence that 80% of our non-smoking public would benefit from better health if a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars was passed, the Senate defeated it. Those lobbyists are either putting out a ton of campaign funds right now, or they're just that good. Either way, school districts need lobbyists that effective.

  7. 80% of us would benefit from a ban on Big Macs, soda pop, candy bars, alcohol, etc too. That doesn't mean the gov't needs to make a law to protect us from ourselves. Give us some credit for knowing and evaluating our own risks as it pertains to what we put in our body, where we put our body, and what we do with our body.

    Now get on to more pressing problems like balancing the budget!


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