The Daily Gazette
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Op-ed column: Merger of school districts would be beneficial for both

Nancy Ohnanian/Tribune Media
Nancy Ohnanian/Tribune Media
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As the outgoing Northville superintendent has stated, the upcoming votes on merging the Mayfield and Northville school districts will be a huge decision for both communities. If the voters — especially in Northville — are able to see past their local pride, then a decision to merge with Mayfield will be a big win for everyone. This vote — a nonbinding resolution on Sept. 18 and then the binding referendum on Oct. 25 — as ...

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September 9, 2012
8:48 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

It is difficult to sympathize with people who struggle to pay taxes that are required to support high cost government because pride and emotion supersedes the struggle. 700+ school districts in a state with 57 counties (plus the NYC counties). This is the only state I have lived in that has more than one school district per county plus city school districts. And the only state with "school taxes" in addition to property taxes. What is the cost breaking point for people to realize that it IS possible to have community pride without a school district in every small community, that is duplicated and replicated several times within a county? When will the cost of emotion and pride become secondary to providing a better academic environment for the students, and give them a better opportunity and chance to succeed in life?

What is the cost breaking point for people to admit that it is OK to have one superintendent, one fleet of school buses, one administrative staff, one building maintenance staff, one athletic director, more than one high school, etc. in one county, especially in a lightly populated rural county or a county with such small land area that it can fit inside many cities?

Many states operate in this manner and produce students with academic and life achievement that surpasses New York.

My conclusion is that while people in New York complain and complain about the high taxes, they really don't mind them otherwise they would do something about them. The aversion to school district consolidation is one small example of not wanting to do anything about the high cost of living here.

September 9, 2012
6:57 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I am glad to see this op-ed. The consolidation of school districts across the State, not just those with less than 1,000 students, would increase educational opportunities, in part by increasing school choice, and it would decrease administrative bloat, thus reducing inefficiency and tax burdens. Local consolidation is a step, but the optimum number of school districts in NYS is 1/50th of a district.

As a country we have largely kept the 17th and 18th model of educational bureaucracy- localized - but this clearly has not worked. On a number of measures we are failing our children. On a purely economic level this balkanization of our school districts is depriving our country of economic growth, and that is not some talking point, but a quantitively verifiable fact. As J. Kozol says - in this country some babies are worth more than other babies- society-though its public schools- spends twice as much on some babies in NYS as other babies.

This dramatic inequality is contradictory to the principles of this county and some have argued, including C. Rice, that this places our country in danger from a geo-political perspective.

Our piecemeal system is broken, and while some local consolidations will help, a wholesale transformation -a reconstruction-of our educational system is needed.

Do we believe in
E Plurbis Unum or E Plurubus Plurubus?