Consolidating school distrcts
In the 2014-15 school year there were 1.7 million, or about 5.2 percent fewer students. Jim Christiana, R- Beaver, pointed out that Pennsylvania has more than 7,000 full-time administrators in its schools.
He applauded one of the resolution's goals "to reduce administrative overhead."Not all lawmakers were sold. Will Tallman, R- Adams, said he was not sure the study would get the results Vereb and others want.
He mentioned that the only voluntary merger, enacted in 2008 between Center and Monaco districts in Beaver County, resulted in one district's residents having to pay the higher property taxes of its neighboring district."Several studies have looked at that now, and proven it not true, so I'm supporting the resolution, I just have a lot of questions," Tallman said.
Three studies of a similar nature took place since Democratic Gov.
Ed Rendell proposed cutting down on the amount of districts in his 2009-10 budget speech, Tallman said.
Their results showed no significant savings, he said."I think we need to do the study, particularly because it's a statewide study," Tallman said.
"I support the resolution but I just want to caution folks …
House Education Committee votes unanimously Monday on a resolution that asks for a legislative study on the pros and cons of consolidating some for the state’s 500 school districts.
The House Education Committee on Monday voted unanimously on a resolution calling for a study on the pros and cons of consolidating school districts. Vereb is looking for administrative savings by dissolving school district boundaries.The study would be done by the Legislature's Joint State Government Commission and the Independent Fiscal Office. During the committee hearing, he framed the resolution as a chance to cut the number of administrators and use the savings to hire more teachers or invest in classrooms.Merging school districts could help taxpayers in counties where student populations are dropping, said Rep.Kathy Rapp, R-Warren, whose district covers vast rural areas of northwest Pennsylvania."I know that there are pros and cons to consolidation but at the end of the day it is a savings to the taxpayers in the county and certainly when we're looking at declining populations and maybe other excessive expenditures, I think this a good idea," Rapp said.The last time Pennsylvania merged districts statewide was in the 1960s.
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However, the Legislature also increased the number of administrators and teachers with the 1997 passage of the state charter school law and the cyber charter school law a few years later. For example, in the 2000-01 school year, there were 1.8 million students, Department of Education records show.