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Pro-con: Should smaller school districts consolidate into larger ones?

By Carolina Astrain
July 21, 2013 at 2:21 a.m.
Updated July 22, 2013 at 2:22 a.m.

Area superintendents weigh in

They're all against district consolidation, and here's why:

• "Our districts function really well they way they are. When you create school districts that are way too big, the specials needs of those smaller areas are sometimes not addressed. The Victoria ISD is the perfect-sized district for a community and education family to get together to create a real difference in a student's life. The opportunity for local control is important." - Robert Jaklich, VISD superintendent

• "Smaller schools and smaller class sizes are more effective, and the research supports that as well. It's easier to work toward a common goal when you know that you can access your teachers or principals when there's not a lot of bureaucracy to deal with. And whether or not we do consolidate, the tax base would stay the same." - Delores Warnell, BISD superintendent

• "Our little district would be absolutely against consolidation. Nursery has its own identity, and we have a lot of community support. The community as a whole is proud to have its own school system. We're a very viable school district. I have been here eight years, and at no time since have we discussed consolidation." - Suzanne Bell, NISD superintendent

Advantages, disadvantages

•  More students would have better access to high-quality equipment.

•  Larger districts may be able to employ more specialized teachers.

•  Teachers in a larger district would have more colleagues from whom they could gain more advice and discussion from.

•  Consolidation could increase a district's transportation spending per pupil.

•  Administrators and teachers sometimes have more positive attitudes when working within a smaller district.

•  Consolidating districts may level up salaries and benefits for employees, which would raise personnel costs.

Source: The School Superintendents Association

Read more here:

Finances are at the forefront of educators' minds as districts across the state are preparing to adopt budgets for the upcoming school year.

With the 2011 state cuts to education being partially reinstated by the Legislature and the rising cost of health insurance in mind, districts are trying to figure out how much they need to cover salaries and materials needed for 2013-14.

The Advocate decided to take a look at what finances would hypothetically look like under a consolidated county school district in Victoria.

Within the county are three school districts: Victoria, Nursery and Bloomington.

The administrative costs budgeted by Nursery and Bloomington put together would total about $500,000 that could possibly be re-routed back to the classroom.

But what would the actual effects be?

Nationally, 117,108 districts were solely dedicated to primary and intermediate education in the 1940s.

By 2006-07, those fell by 88 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Would consolidation work in Victoria County? The public weighs in.

Pro: Bigger means better instruction, more bang for tax dollars

Con: Smaller offers better individual care, sense of community



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