Monday, April 30, 2007

Urgent Advice and Opinions Needed!

Thursday there is a meeting soliciting community opinion and comments on the merging of Sumter School District 2 with Sumter School District 17.

Both school districts are small, so my initial inclination is that a merge would make sense fiscally. Both school districts have a full compliment of advisers, curriculum specialists, and endless other administration types.

Even merged, the school district would only cover about 8,000 students, which isn't terribly large.

While District 17 has the reputation for being the better school district, its reputation rests almost entirely on its demographics, as it has a slightly higher number of white students and a lower number of low income students. The district is by no means a white enclave.

District 2 actually does a better job of educating its students, as I have posted in the past, and when disaggregated data is compared it is way more successful, especially with low income and minority students.

Next year, the two school districts are going to have one of the first intra-district open enrollment programs, and the districts already share a career center.

Since I am moving to Alaska, the point is actually moot for me, but I still want to take the opportunity to educate the public.

Like many other political decisions made in the south, I expect the decision to be influenced by racial politics, divisions between rural and city residents, and plain old fashion turf defense.

References: District 2 - District 17
School Report Cards: District 2 - District 17

What are your thoughts?


allen said...

The myth that's fostered in support of district consolidation is efficiency. Since that's the reason that's inevitably offered, the examples ought to be legion.

Maybe the proponents could trot out some of those examples rather then just reiterating the efficiency advantages that accrue to the bigger district. I suggest you not hold your breath waiting.

My ground floor perspective is that fiscal efficiency, not to mention educational efficacy, is inversely proportional to district size.