Where school districts are concerned, the evidence suggests the opposite: consolidating small and medium-sized districts
into larger districts would reduce efficiency and increase costs to taxpayers.
Why would consolidation fail to achieve the cost savings Gov. Rendell hopes for?
While measures such as bulk purchasing and cross-district health trusts are sensible cost-savings measures, these
can already occur without consolidation.
It's possible that some administrative savings might materialize, but it won't help that some superintendents will
become "assistant superintendents" and others will expect large raises.
The notion that larger districts have fewer administrators per pupil runs counter to experience.
The single largest school cost item (about half of every district's budget) is teacher salaries and benefits.
These would become standardized over the newly merged districts. Does anyone believe that salaries will be standardized
at any level lower than the highest prevailing in the county?
As long as school board directors can negotiate contracts in secret and vote on them without any chance for public comment,
it hardly matters whether the district represents a small area or a large county.
If cost savings is truly a goal for Pennsylvania schools, a good first step would be greater transparency.
The public should have access to greater information about how school districts spend tax dollars and adequate information
as contracts are being negotiated. SchoolBoardTransparency.org was launched with just such a goal in mind.
step is expanding school choice options, which cost far less than traditional public schools.
Charter and cyber schools typically cost taxpayers only about 70 percent of the cost of district-run schools, while Pennsylvania's
Education Improvement Tax Credit sends students to the school of their choice with scholarships worth less than one-tenth
the cost of traditional public schools.