Monday, February 1, 2016

State Legislature to tackle School Consolidation

Topeka - Kansas legislatures meeting in Topeka plan to take up the issue of school consolidation this week.  For the first time since the early 1960's, a bill has been introduced to force school districts to consolidate.  HB2504 is expected to begin debate in the House Education Committee on Wednesday February 3, 2016.

photographer Kevin Surbaugh
If the bill passes, it would cut the number of school districts from 286 to 132, starting in 2017. The proposed plan would create a single school district in each of the states 105 counties with fewer then 10,000 students. Districts would also be realigned so that each district in the county would have at least 1,500 students and require the Kansas State Department of Education to realign the districts every 10 years.
According to an analysis by the Kansas Association of School Boards, the Baldwin School district with only 1,386 students would be merged into the Eudora with 1,743 students.  Under the proposal, no schools would be closed, so no busing issues. Instead money would be saved by eliminating administration. What that means is, one superintendent instead of two or more and one school board also.  That would also eliminate multiple administration buildings as well.  Those buildings would be sold off, along with surplus vehicles and equipment.
Only 50 districts would be unaffected. The average district size in Kansas would go from 1,719 students to 3,724 students.

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