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

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

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

Supporters of a consolidated county school district in Victoria County believe a unified district could re-direct administrative costs into the classroom.

One parent said she also thinks a consolidated county school district would be fair to the residents of Nursery.

The Nursery school district has maintained a long-standing agreement to feed their fifth-graders to Cuero school district campuses across county lines.

But now that VISD has new middle and high school campuses even closer to Nursery, parents like Briana Viesca are having second thoughts.

"I don't believe it's fair," Viesca said. "My tax dollars went to building both of those schools."

This summer, the 29-year-old mother has anxiously awaited the approval for her son's out-of-district transfer into the Victoria school district.

The nearest Cuero middle school is 17 minutes away from her home, compared to the seven-minute commute to VISD's Cade Middle School, where she hopes her son is accepted for transfer this fall.

"The taxes that I pay are in Victoria County," Viesca said. "Why should I have to send my kids to Cuero?"

The year before, Viesca underwent a similar experience to transfer her 10-year-old daughter from Nursery and into Schorlemmer Elementary, one of VISD's newest elementary schools.

"In Victoria, they have the Gifted/Talented program every day of the week. In Nursery, the GT kids only meet once a week," Viesca said. "I felt like there was more of a learning opportunity for my daughter at VISD."

Joe Fox, a Victoria East High School world geography teacher, said more money spent on hiring teachers instead of administrative staff would greatly improve his success as teacher.

"If it's possible to save money by consolidating, then I think they should go about it," Fox said. "In Victoria ISD, it's kind of difficult having to teach 30 people in a classroom."

Victoria school district has 14,333 students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12.

Bill Wiggins, superintendent of the Calhoun County school district, said consolidation has presented academic advantages in Calhoun County school district, the only school district in the county.

Calhoun school district has about 4,200 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

"As a consolidated district, we're able to pool our finances and distribute the money to all of the areas in our county," Wiggins said. "The impact has been positive."

But Wiggins also warns those considering county consolidation of the emotional backlash school leaders would likely receive from tightly knit communities represented by smaller districts.

"There are going to be huge community issues that one has to deal with if you decide to go down that road," Wiggins said.

Con: Smaller offers better individual care, sense of community



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