Given the way time is flying by we realize, much to our horror, that sooner than we might think possible students will be back in school and school tax bills will be in mailboxes throughout the district. And while we do not have anyone heading back to school, we are fairly certain that our school taxes will arrive without fail at our door. And when they do we will no doubt find ourselves musing, as we do each year, about the value we receive from our school taxes.
We think it is relatively safe to say that the future of education not just at Cooperstown Central School, but across the entire county is uncertain. While we were in Michigan, there was a front page article in The Grand Rapids Press, dated July 9, with the rather unsettling headline “Superintendents react to state consolidation plan.” The subtitle of the article was “Proposal calls for countywide school districts, could save more than $600M in three years.” We found the article to be rather interesting.
Michigan State Superintendent of Schools, Mike Flanagan, is quoted in the article as saying: “I believe that it makes sense to realign in this configuration — providing administrative efficiencies and a better ability to utilize state funding; better absorb the enrollment fluctuations one local school district might be suffering; and providing a more equitable education for all students.”
The article also pointed out that: “School consolidation has long been a controversial topic. In 2010, the Grand Rapids Press, along with seven MLive Media Group-affiliated newspapers, commissioned a study by Michigan State University’s Education Policy Center to answer questions such as potential cost savings.”
“The study found that by trimming management, eliminating district boundaries and recasting administration around county lines, state taxpayers save $612 million a year after three years without closing a school. The findings also revealed that a less involved change, a shared services model with no district boundaries erased, could save Michigan taxpayers $328 million. That put all public school transportation, food service and operations and maintenance at the county level.”