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July 31, 2009 - 9:14am

Today's Poll: Should Genesee County school districts be consolidated into a single district?

posted by Howard B. Owens in consolidation, schools, polls.
bud prevost
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It absolutely should be looked at and considered. We are talking about savings close to a million dollars annually just for supers. Imagine the consolidation of staffs, shared opportunities, and increased buying power. We basically have a governing body in place in the form of BOCES. I think we should evaluate and discuss the pro's and cons. I certainly do not want to sacrifice the pride I have in my local district, but I also am open to saving tax dollars.
Marty Stucko
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There was a brief segment on the radio recently, where Syracuse was looking in to school district consolidation, useing BOCES as the administrative body. I haven't heard any updates on thier findings.
Shannon Mellander
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I definitely think it's worth looking into. I don't necessarily think only one district is adequate enough for all of the students in the county. But, I do think that some districts may be able to combine.
Jeff Allen
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I'm torn between the potential to save money and the loss of a schools autonomy and identity. We are fortunate to have great school programs here in Genesee County. I'd hate to see the positives lost in the consolidation.
Marty Stucko
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Under the Syracuse plan administrative functions would be consolidated under BOCES, not the students.
Gary Diegelman
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One single district no. However there have been studies done by I believe UB showing that some of the districts in the area should be combined. That study needs to be looked at. I would agree that some could probably be combined but not all into one.
Timothy Paine
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Gary, don't quote me but I beleive they showed a chart that combined O-A and B-B consolidating with Elba and Alexander combining with Pavilion. The chart was all I saw. At that time I couldn't find any text to go with the colored chart. Pembroke, Batavia, and Leroy would stay as is. As I said, I only saw the chart.
C. M. Barons
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Larger districts could both save costs and provide the incentive to attract better adminsitrators. Further, if the districts were one, schools could share AP and small enrollment classes via teleconferencing to further enhance smaller school offerings. Community school identity would not suffer. Aside from the administrative changes, local buildings and athletic programs could remain.
Howard B. Owens
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I don't buy that larger districts attract better administrators just because they're larger. To many people, there are things more important than how much money they make or the next stepping stone. The smallest district can sometimes have the best people.
Daniel Jones
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Howard, I thought that you were an "arch capitalist", if you truly were one, you would know that more monetary incentive will attract higher skilled administrators.
Fred GUNDELL
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Lets suppose that all the Districts were incorporated into the Genesee County School District. Fire all these over paid Superintendents. Eliminate all the School Boards. Coonsolidate all the various School Bus Requirements. One school Bus repair garage. Opps, maybe even privatize it.(Just a thought). Probably with some creative scheduling even reduse the number of buses required. Combine who know what in all the offices. Like eliminate all the administrative assistants etc. Each school still has their identity. Cheaper football and other costs by buying in bulk.(just to use a tongue and cheek example) Oakfield-Alabama still plays Elba in football. One School Board with a representative from each school elected by the voters. And who knows maybe even a school superintendent that lives in the district.More diversity and class space available, or consolidaed where possible. Especially since each district enrollment appears to be shrinking. This looks to me to be a "No Brainer". It should have happened years ago. Thanks
Howard B. Owens
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Nice straw man, Daniel. That's not necessarily a definition of any form capitalism. Compensation in any capitalistic scheme isn't all monetary. There's all kinds of compensation. In a capitalist economy, each of us are free as individuals to seek our own level of happiness, whether that be derived from six-figure incomes or where we choose to live.
C. M. Barons
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Howard, there may well be administrators who are willing to work for less pay; settle for a career in a lower-charged setting. However, competition is the driving factor. More openings exist (for school superintendents) than candidates to fill those openings. At least that has been the case in New York State for the last decade. If a candidate has a choice to work at a suburban school or a rural district; what are the odds that candidate will be attracted to a middling salary, a programmatically less impressive educational environment and a locale that may be quaint- hardly prestigeous? What are the odds a candidate will overlook a history of budget controversy and battles over teacher contracts? Most professionals devoted a decade to higher education, clambered atop the ranks and paid dues to the posteriors of innumerable hacks and axe-grinders. They're anxious to progress above the lower rungs- not perch for the duration of their career. They want to decorate their office with honorariums affirming educational excellence and innovation. There's nothing wrong with being proud of recongition from the local Rotary, Dairy Council and volunteer fire department. However, the administrator who is satisfied with status quo, who took the job because it looked less challenging is not going to invest anymore than he/she has to. The difference between a small district and a large district- from the bird's eye of a superintendent is simply, "how many hats do I wear?" In a small district like Elba, the superintendent wears many hats; notably: business manager, curriculum developer, CEO, labor relations, etc. Time and talent are spread wide over multiple areas that in a larger district would be handled by subordinate administrators. When you build a super district, not only do you bank on one chief administrator, your chief administrator has the ability to focus on the mission of operating leaner, more effective schools. ...As opposed to maintaining more-or-less functional schools. We may be tempted to see through the lens of Frank Capra's camera- some idyllic vision of rural America- vintage 1890. That's a misnomer. We have a struggling, semi-Agricultural economy and substantial poverty. Our bedroom communities with abandoned retail stores, cut-off by extinct city jobs are mirroring the same decline as inner-city neighborhoods. Our stately homes are in descent to multi-family rental properties. A school, church, Library, museum and fire departments are all that remain evidencing community- save gas station, traffic light and empty bandstand. We cling to these despite expense. Our state budget that has bought time, prolonging survival of rural edifices, notably our schools is faltering as well. The governor projects a $38 billion deficit in four years. We can nolonger afford blind provincialism.
C. M. Barons
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In the way of a post-script, do not interpret my remarks to demean the work of our local superintendents. The limitations I refer to are the finite ones: time and resources. My observations derive from conversations with a school superintendent.
John Woodworth JR
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Wow people are willing to consolidate School Districts to save cost, but opposed to consolidating government. Government is just as big as a financial burden. I do agree to the idea of consolidating the school districts to save cost. Government is another consolidation that should be looked at though. Heck, New York City already controls what Upstate New York receives.
C. M. Barons
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Yes, NYC does control what upstate receives. For every dollar a NYC resident pays in taxes, .56 goes upstate.

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