From at least December, 2009, when PA state Rep. Tim Mahoney re-introduced House Bill 351 regarding countywide consolidation
of schools until as recently as April, 2011 before the results of the legislator's contracted study on Fayette consolidation
was completed, Rep. Mahoney has continuously claimed savings would be had by scaling back half-a-dozen superintendents in
area districts and decreasing the size of the administrations to one countywide system.
Mahoney says mergers an option for school districts
“Due to demographic trends, all of our public school districts have significantly smaller student enrollments than
they did 30, 20 or even 10 years ago,” said Mahoney. “It is not an exaggeration to say that some of them have
graduating classes half as big as they once were. It is time for everyone —
administrators, school boards, parents and especially taxpayers — to examine all alternatives to running a more
streamlined and cost-effective education system.”
Mahoney said he wants to remind people across Pennsylvania that their school districts can voluntarily choose to consolidate
on many levels, from full-scale mergers like Monaca-Center to the administration-only merger that he is advocating for Fayette
“A partial merger, such as one that focuses only on administrative functions, would allow school districts to maintain
their individual identities and athletic teams, while saving money,” said Mahoney. “It is my hope that the current
administration’s proposed cuts in basic education funding may serve as a catalyst to jump-start some of these discussions.”
Mahoney said that merging operations on some level may be the only way school districts can avoid imposing even more of
a real estate tax burden on residents.
Not Enough Said:
Rep. Mahoney has obviously not read the Standard and Poor Study on the Cost-Effectiveness of Consolidating Pennsylvania
School Districts which we cite numerous times on these pages.
The study was completed in June, 2007.
It is clear on the analysis that larger school districts of over 3,000 students are not cost-effective and other costs
rise when larger districts are created out of "smaller" and "medium" sized districts.
The study and other material from other sources highlighting yet other studies specifically note "transportation" costs
rise in larger merged school districts.
Especially, if there are local school closings, which Rep. Mahoney has already admitted publicly on WMBS 590 are a consideration
in the countywide consolidation, such closings give rise to new costs. These costs in turn defeat the purposes of formally
merging into a larger district.
Rep. Tim Mahoney
Not Enough Said:
Rep. Mahoney's remark here is laughable to say the least.
Not Enough Said:
We'll pull other quotes from several researchers, but we highlight this one and have said much the same about the salaries
of teachers in a countywide consolidated district going down, down, and down, we have a unicorn in our garden - would you
like to see it?
In the countywide consolidated school district, the larger district creates increased costs. Material presented
by researchers also indicates there would not be much savings with smaller "rural" districts combining into a
larger school district.
Guest Op-Ed: School District Consolidation is a Red Herring by Nathan A. Benefield and Fred D. Baldwin
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?
(Guest Op-Ed: School District Consolidation is a Red Herring by Nathan A. Benefield and Fred D. Baldwin