“…transparency offers a low cost solution to display large amounts of data and present an attractive delivery of documents that are easy to navigate through,” said Allen Spelce, communications director for the Comptroller of Public Accounts. “Because the school district uses online data to show the public how money is spent, they have reduced information requests and increased widespread public access to district information. “

Source: Texas Budget Source

One of the rumors–that’s unverified information you listen to when no one tells you anything officially because of lack of transparency and openness in school/civic governance–for Texas school districts in crisis goes like this:

One of our State Representatives is proposing a major consolidation.District 14 Rep. Fred Brown (R), aims to cut the budget by consolidating school districts, cutting back from more than 1,200 to 254 statewide. (Source: Lubbock News)

Ok, I suppose it’s not much of a rumor if a State representative is proposing it…maybe he’s just floating the idea to see how it will fare among the sea of public opinion. While I’m unschooled in the area of school district consolidation and whether it will make a difference, a report just came out entitled Consolidation of Schools and Districts (via @joebires)

Some of the key findings:
  1. Arguments for consolidation, which merges schools or districts and centralizes their management, rest primarily on two presumed benefits: (1) fiscal efficiency and (2) higher educational quality.
  2. …in the largest jurisdictions, efficiencies have likely been exceeded—that is, some consolidation has produced diseconomies of scale that reduce efficiency. In such cases, deconsolidation is more likely to yield benefits than consolidation.
  3. For example, policymakers may believe “We’ll save money if we reduce the number of superintendents by consolidating districts;” however, larger districts need—and usually hire—more mid-level administrators. Research also suggests that impoverished regions in particular often benefit from smaller schools and districts, and they can suffer irreversible damage if consolidation occurs.
  4. While state-level consolidation proposals may serve a public relations purpose in times of crisis, they are unlikely to be a reliable way to obtain substantive fiscal or educational improvement.
That information in hand, how likely are Texas legislators to accomplish fiscal efficiency and higher educational quality for the impoverished regions, such as schools in urban centers where students are poverty-stricken living in Children’s Shelters, and parents are on welfare, or barely able to survive on the meager pay they make as custodians, teaching assistants, and other positions?

These are points worth considering as educators who must exercise the right to vote.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure