A good idea for our schools

17 12 2007

Consolidation, an idea that has been fought from Stubenville through Youngstown to Cleveland. Mostly because everyone wants their little fiefdoms, which has lead to the decline of this entire area. Was put forward Thursday Dec. 13th by Tom Humphries, president/CEO of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce. Quotes are from The Morning Journal.

According to Humphries, 26 percent of the nation’s population has a bachelor’s degree, and in Ohio, that drops to 22 percent.

In the three-county area of Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull, the average is 16 percent, with Columbiana having the lowest number of bachelor degree holders at 10.8 percent of the population.

I think that this is a failure of our school systems. This is a failure of the electorate to find people that truly care about children. Everyone wants to rule their corner of the world. Each town has its own school board with a paid administration, running up the cost per child. I remember when I was in school, the joke was a that all principles dream of waking up one morning and being crowned superintendent.

There are 11 school districts in Columbiana County, meaning 11 superintendents, 11 treasurers, plus one county superintendent and one county vocational superintendent, Humphries pointed out.

In the three-county area, $900 million is spent annually for education, with $105 million of that for administration, and Humphries said by consolidating administrations into one per county, $22.3 million could be saved each year.

By moving to an educational system with just one superintendent and one treasurer per county, those savings then could be used to provide free post-secondary education to every student in each county, Humphries said.

That alone is good enough reason to do this. It would mean opportunity for our children, but we don’t want them to better than us, right?

He pointed out, for example, that there are between 11,000 and 15,000 students in Columbiana County with 13 superintendents, compared to Fairfax, Va., where one county has 163,000 students and one superintendent.

In Virginia, the cost for administration is $800 per student, compared to $1,300 per student in Columbiana County, according to Humphries.

“People need to know this,” Humphries said.

I’m trying to get this out to my corner of the world.

He does have an answer to the funding issues, but isn’t revealing it until he talks to all the superintendents.

“There is a way to do it,” he assured the group.

One quote from the group made me laugh.

Tom Snow, executive director of Columbiana Metropolitan Housing Authority, said, “When you can stand in Columbiana County and throw three stones and hit three new (school) buildings, it’s ridiculous.”

First that is what all the districts told us was needed to make our schools better, instead of educating our children. Second I believe Tom Snow was Assistant Superintendent, a paid position, in East Liverpool in the 80’s and may have been Superintendent for a while. Would that not have made him part of the problem.

We need to wake up and put the children first not our petty needs to be important.

The View From Out Here




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