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Not Enough Said

No Public Referendum Required for Two or More School Districts to Merge

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Blog Posts for September 2011
Radio Talk Show Host Fails to Study School Consolidation for Fayette County Study
Not Enough Said project of: Net the Truth Online
Rep. Mahoney Reading Not Enough Said? Poses Study Could Show No Savings by Admin. Consolidation?
Fayette Special: Model for Other Power Grabbing PA State Legislators to Follow
PA Rep. Tim Mahoney Proposal to House Education Cmte Shows Goal To Wrest Local Control
County-wide School District Legislation Allows Board of Commissioners Authority to Equalize District
Not Enough Said on This Issue Site per Proposal for Fayette Vo-Tech/STEM Center
Confirmation Why Herald-Standard Didn't Question Rep. About His Advisory Committee
Plan for Countywide School District Consolidation = Fayette Forward Strategic Plan
Report PA School Consolidation Cost Effectiveness
Rep. Mahoney Claims After Consolidation Savings 15% to 20% Where We Ask?
Is Rep. Tim Mahoney About to Change Structure of School Administration All on His Own?
Herald-Standard & Rep. Tim Mahoney in League to Bait & Switch Public
Candidates for School Directors On the Fence or Supportive Urged to View Wealth of Critical Studies
Herald-Standard Disappointed School Board Candidates Not All Rosey County Consolidation
Study: consolidation of school districts into larger units leads to higher dropout rate!
We Can Hear It Now Some of my Opponents Don't Want The People To Decide
We Can Hear it Now: Are You Against the People Deciding Consolidation Choice
Report PA School Boards Association Study on Consolidation 2009
Cost Savings Claimed 2 Years Before Local Study Begins Now Claim Lowered!
Bid Process? Study Weighted to Cost-Savings Due to Results for Center & Monaca Consolidations?
Does Consolidation into Large District Save Costs?
Did Merged Districts Hold True to Standard & Poor Study: Taxes May Rise in 1 District
Merged Monaca & Center School Districts Less than 2,999 Students!
First Eliminate School Property Taxes, Candidate Says, Then We'll See @ Consolidation?
Central Valley School District: Archetype for (Fayette) County-wide Consolidation?
What is the Impact of Consolidation (into larger district) on Students?
What is the Impact of Consolidation (into larger district) on Rural Community?
No Public Referendum Required for Two or More School Districts to Merge
PA Economy League Report Municipal and School District Functional Mergers & Structural Consolidation
Experts Slam Consolidation Small/Medium Size Districts into Larger One
Not Enough Said Requests Talk Show Host Read Standard & Poor Study
Legislation Designed to Enable Boards of County Commissioners Power to Place Measure on Ballot
Article: PA Legislators Push Plans for School Consolidation
Fayette School Director Candidates Take Opposing View of Countywide Consolidation Plan
Get It Spot On and Don't Cover Up When You Don't
Unified Countywide School District for "Taxation Purposes"
Uniformity in the Course of Study in the Schools of the Several Grades
Rep. Mahoney Meets With Herald Standard Editorial Board
PA Dept. of Ed. Retirees Now Education Management Group Consultants to Conduct Study
Promise Local Sub-districts in Countywide School Retain Local Identity
Book of Quotes by Not Enough Said
Links per county-wide school consolidation issue
Contact Me
Stop Uniform Curriculum County-Wide School Consolidation Power Grab
Fayette County Commissioner Candidates Responses to School Regionalization Question
Tribune-Review article per PA school consolidation legislation
Article: Region to Benefit from 2 New STEM Education Centers
Herald-Standard Article: Unity between Business and Education Needed in Fayette County
Marcellus Shale Gas Program of Interest Not an Endorsement
Radio Talk Show Host: Gas Impact Concerns Citizens Demand DEP Resolve
Votefix will be providing an update soon

Any further legislation to enable school districts to consolidate into a county-wide district is wholly unnecessary.  Should two, four, or six local school districts desire to merge together, they can already do so under the current School Code Act.
 
The question arises, then, why, as state Rep. Tim Mahoney has done again today,  the push for a local county-wide referendum to put the question of merging all school districts on the "county" ballot.  And to put the measure on the ballot by November, 2011?
 
Consider Rep. Tim Mahoney's legislation which enables the board of county commissioners to put the question on the ballot for all of the county voters.  When did this legislation pass the General Assembly?  We can't find mention that such has happened anywhere on the Internet.
 
The legislation needs scrutinized further because the legislation requires a mere 3/4th majority of county voters to approve the referendum, then all of the school districts, whether they want to or not, must consolidate into the county-wide district. 

Another concern arises by the push to put a countywide consolidation question on the November, 2011 county ballot (however that will be done as current law does not enable this) is this is the same Election wherein as the Herald-Standard.com crows for the first time ever there are challengers to school board director incumbents in each of the area school districts.
 
We could see the true will of the people in a local area district expressed by overwhelmingly voting for those candidates who are "dead set" against Rep. Mahoney's plan for countywide consolidation.
 
We may see the same thing in 4 other districts happen.  Candidates for school board director who are "dead set" against the countywide consolidation plan could be winners.
 
At the same time, if the board of county commissioners has placed the resolution on the ballot for countwide consolidation - we could see a huge turnout of voters in a wealthier and higher populated school district over smaller school districts.
 
Since only 3/4ths of the voters who turn out to vote is all that is required to pass the referendum, we could see 1 geographic area of voters edge the referendum through.  Thus, effectively bypassing the majority will in the other districts!
 
As far as we are aware, House Bill 351 has not yet passed in the PA General Assembly.  Unless it does before November, 2011, the board of commissioners have not authority to place a referendum on the ballot for voters of the county to consider altering another governmental body, that of school districts.
 
A PA Economy League report, direct link here, and discussion here, details existing procedures for both municipal governments to join (ability to reset boundaries) and for school districts to merge, (also with ability to reset boundaries), but the power of referendum so far only applies to municipal governments, not school districts regarding outright consolidation.
 
School districts can currently formally merge and consolidate without need of a local referendum on the county ballot.
 
So Rep. Mahoney's legislation needs further scrutiny now since he has highlighted again his "push" to get a referendum on the November Fayette County ballot.
 
How will that be managed?  The legislation as proposed by Rep. Tim Mahoney to our knowledge did not make it out of legislative committees where it resided back in 2009.
 
We have not read any report that says HB 351 has passed.
 
Also, in reading the PA Economy League Report, the statement is made:
 

The process to complete a merger of school districts differs from the municipal process

principally because no public referendum is required to approve the merger.

http://teampa.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Final-Report-TeamPA-Merger-Consoldation.pdf

We further question whether an attempt to initiate a referendum process may be made in August in time for a 90-day leeway which applies to municipalities for placing mergers before the public in a referendum?

We then ponder whether the entire effort towards a referendum process for Fayette County is not for the People, but rather is an end-run around those local districts, let's say, Brownsville, for instance, who have been opposed to county-wide consolidation and outright consolidation with another out-of-the area district.

That's not to say Brownsville and other districts are not accepting of informal cost-savings measures.

 
House Bill 351 P.N. 382 also presents the measure is for "taxation purposes" and for  "uniform curriculum" among the grades for which they were established. 
 
We discuss these situations in more depth on this site in separate pages.
 

PA Economy League Report
 
includes notice school districts do not need a referendum on the ballot in order to merge, loosely merge i.e. share services, or outright 'voluntarily' consolidate.
 

The process to complete a merger of school districts differs from the municipal process principally because no public referendum is required to approve the merger...

http://teampa.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Final-Report-TeamPA-Merger-Consoldation.pdf

Not Enough Said:

The Standard and Poor Study on the Cost Effectiveness of Consolidating Pennsylvania School Districts is very clear on this finding: 

Sharing services can yield savings without consolidating districts. Many districts already share services with other districts and, in some cases, with local municipalities. The PA Dept. of General Services also has programs that give districts the ability to increase their purchasing power.

http://lbfc.legis.state.pa.us/

PA Economy League Report
 
..School districts in the Commonwealth are governed by the Pennsylvania Public School Code of 1949 as amended and other legislation, by regulations of the State Board of Education, and by standards of the State Department of Education. These laws, regulations, and standards impart a considerable amount of discretionary power to locally elected school boards and district superintendents. School districts in Pennsylvania represent a mixture of Commonwealth authority and local status as a school district, as well as status as a “government” entity with taxing powers similar to local municipalities in the Commonwealth. Indeed, school districts collect approximately 60 to 70 percent of all local real estate taxes levied in the Commonwealth.

Process for School District Merger or Consolidation

Unlike municipalities, there is no special legislative act similar to the 1994 municipal boundary change legislation that applies to school districts. Several sections of the Public Schoo Code establish basic procedures for a merger of school districts and the involvement of the State’s Board of Education. These procedures can be summarized as follows:

A majority vote (5 of 9 members) of all boards involved is required;

An application must be filed with the Secretary of Education;

The State Board of Education must approve the application. Approval is to be granted by the State Board of Education as it deems appropriate and in the best interests of

MERGER/CONSOLIDATION REVIEW CASE STUDIES 2009 APRIL 2009

Pennsylvania Economy League, Central Division 1-6 the education system of the Commonwealth. If the State Board of Education does not approve, the application must be referred to the applying districts for resubmission in accordance with the recommendations of the State Board of Education;

The Secretary of Education issues a certificate creating the new school district. The certificate lists the district name, components, classification, and the effective date of operation.

Other sections of the Public School Code that affect mergers of school districts includes sections for the treatment of existing indebtedness of the merged school districts, provisions for the amicable adjustment and apportionment of debt and property, and provisions for the election of school directors in the merged district.

As part of the process of voting to approve a merger, the boards of the merging complement school districts must agree on at least six items:

The name of the school district;

The name of the superintendent, salary, and length of contract;

The administrative structure of the district;

The buildings to be operated by the district;

Which area vocational technical school the new Districts’ pupils will attend; and

The timeframe for the merger.

As of the writing of this report, there have been two recent attempts at merging school districts; Center and Monaca in Beaver County and Halifax and Millersburg in Dauphin County.

The merger of Center and Monaca was recently approved by both school boards and the State Board of Education; the boards of Halifax and Millersburg decided not to pursue additional steps to complete the merger but did decide to partner in educational and other relevant activities as much as practical.

http://teampa.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Final-Report-TeamPA-Merger-Consoldation.pdf

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Not Enough Said got a start in early May  2011

Net the Truth Online and Dare Inquire Representatives Truth  remain current sites that preceded this site.
 

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