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Old 01-27-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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My point is that politicians say one thing and do another. Just because you think Brown is tough on environmental regulations doesn't mean that his intentions are good when it comes to consolidating the school districts. His purpose is to reduce costs, not increase equality. I will believe a study done by a university over a politician who is just looking to balance the budget. If you want to ignore all of the evidence showing that school districts over a certain size generally under-perform, then so be it. You have yet to show any evidence that large school districts increase the performance of struggling schools.
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meisha210 View Post
My point is that politicians say one thing and do another. Just because you think Brown is tough on environmental regulations doesn't mean that his intentions are good when it comes to consolidating the school districts.
The introduction of Fred Brown's stance on the environment was only to clear the misconception that was claimed by someone on this thread that he was a "conservative" when in fact in some issues he is a moderate.

Brown and Perry are not the same as was insinuated.

No one that I know believes that Fred's Browns views on the environment have any impact on his intentions when it comes to consolidating school districts.

What are Fred's Browns intentions? They are very clear according to his legislative director, Austin McCarty:

Quote:
"It's merely to save on the administrative side of things so that money can be better utilized by the school district for building new facilities and finding better learning tools."
Proposed bill would consolidate school districts within each county - The Daily Sentinel: News

Quote:
Originally Posted by meisha210 View Post
His purpose is to reduce costs, not increase equality. I will believe a study done by a university over a politician who is just looking to balance the budget.
His purpose? We are discussing Fred Brown specifically? His purpose is to reduce cost by paring back administration costs. Fred Brown never claimed equality nor did anyone mistakenly assign that as one of his "purposes" unless you believe that? I don't believe you actually do.

Balance the budget? Fred Brown might have stated that as a reason in the current climate but the fact of the matter is that Fred Brown has been proposing this bill a bit longer than the current crisis of calls to balance the budget.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meisha210 View Post
If you want to ignore all of the evidence showing that school districts over a certain size generally under-perform, then so be it. You have yet to show any evidence that large school districts increase the performance of struggling schools.
No one is ignoring that evidence. Certainly not Fred Brown that we know of unless someone has specific evidence showing otherwise?

Quote:
"This is something we'll be bringing to the Texas Education Agency to determine which districts are the best fit for consolidation since this entire bill is motivated by saving money," McCarty said.
Proposed bill would consolidate school districts within each county - The Daily Sentinel: News

So clearly Fred Brown is willing to work with TEA to see which districts would best be served by this bill.

It is likely the study from Indiana University will be consulted, if this bill passes, and hopefully a separate study will be conducted to figure out if consolidating some school districts would decrease administration costs overall throughout the state. It is also likely that this bill does not pass at all.

The fact that Fred Brown alone has been proposing this bill shows it is something he strongly believes in and is not some politicking tactic. The fact that other politicians have not supported the bill thus far reveals it is also not a business as usual approach.
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:17 PM
 
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You seem to have forgotten how this discussion started. You said the study from the Texas Public Policy Foundation is biased because it's a conservative group and one of its leaders used to work for Perry. Fred Brown calls himself a conservative all over his campaign site, he has a 74% rating with the Young Republicans of Texas, and he is a member of the Texas Conservative Coalition. Even Perry would be considered moderate on some issues, but he is an overall conservative. Of course, no two politicians are exactly alike, not even the ones who have an advisory relationship.

Then, you pretty much expressed agreement with the plan thinking it would have other benefits for the poorer districts besides cutting costs. You even said that you trust Brown's judgment in this situation because of his campaign rhetoric of wanting equal access to education for all. For all these years he has been proposing this bill, he hasn't even bothered to look at studies and examples on how very large school districts operate?

You also brought up John Folks who is in favor of consolidating the districts for equality reasons. I also do not think that will solve the problem. You have to solve the funding problem at its source which is the state. If you solve the inequality problem at the state, there would be no reason to consolidate large districts at the county level for equality in funding. That only moves the funding problem to the county level which would mean that some counties would end up getting more money per student than others. The magnet schools? That is also not a blanket solution since magnet schools don't have the capacity to teach a large percentage of students. NISD is already at the threshold where its size can make it more expensive to teach each student, so just imagine having hundreds of thousands of students under one district.
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:26 PM
 
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I still believe myself that county-wide school districts in most cases will insure equality among students within that county. It might not be the cheapest route or save any money but it would insure that each student gets the same money. The Indiana study did not really address that issue either nor did it address the issue of decreasing administration overhead, the latter being Fred Brown's primary concern in which I agree with him.

Consolidate the districts in our county and it should save money since we won't have the need for redundant administrators but just one set of them. That money could then be used on the students all over Bexar County including NISD.

As far as solving this issue at the state level? I have no opinion on that matter since I am more concerned about Bexar County specifically.

My opinion on magnet schools is that they will teach the most qualified students who are qualified...not just allow access to every student. A meritocracy has its advantages.
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Old 01-28-2011, 12:09 AM
 
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Fixing funding at the state level would ensure that Bexar County is getting the same amount of money as other counties. The Indiana study did address the issue of districts that are too large having to spend more money per student and having high dropout rates at the same time. It also said that small school districts could save money on administration. It doesn't sound like large school districts are able to get the most bang for the buck. Also if it costs more to teach each student, that could actually mean less money than needed would be spent per student if budget cuts need to be made. The Indiana study did give an example of one consideration of consolidating where their study found out that the savings from central administration was negligible. Out of all the money schools in Bexar County receive, what percentage goes to paying for administration at the district level? If John Folks is getting paid $250,000 per year and his assistants are getting paid less, I would guess that around $2-3 million a year is being spent on the salaries of district administration which is a teeny fraction of the NISD budget. NISD's proposed budget for 2010-2011 is over $700 million.

I would also like to know how many administrative positions can be cut. How many assistant and deputy superintendents and executive directors does it take to run a very large school district? Would we risk inefficiency if too many positions are cut? Would the savings from the cuts be countered by the increased cost per student?

NISD's proposed expenditures this past school year was $726 million. Let's say that $5 million is spent on district administration salaries. That's less than 0.7% of the budget. NISD says it spends over $13 million for general administration which is just under 1.8% of its total expenditures.

http://www.nisd.net/business/budgets/2010.pdf (broken link)

NISD has about 90,000 students. If you were to transfer that whole $13 million dollar budget over to the students, that would be an extra $144 per student. NISD spends $7,310 per student already. SAISD spends $8,236 per student and is ranked academically lower than NISD.

http://www.susancombs.com/media/texa...ademic-results

Last edited by L210; 01-28-2011 at 12:38 AM..
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Old 01-28-2011, 09:20 AM
 
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Fixing the funding at the state level to insure every county received the same, as you have proposed, would not exactly insure every student in Bexar County is given the same amount.

A study on how much could be saved on administration costs if school districts were consolidated in Bexar County would have to include every school district, administrator, and student in the county and not just NISD as in your rather simplistic example. It would also have to realistically understand how many administrators would be required within a consolidated district versus how many are employed now throughout the county.

Congrats on better clarifying in your mind exactly how to apply the data from the Indiana Study because it is very specific and the cost effectiveness of funding each student in large districts versus smaller districts that have been consolidated in no way even addresses these other issues or can be applied to them as you seemingly were doing so in the earlier portions of this thread. If you wish to better understand anything else I would be happy to explain it to you as well.
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Old 01-29-2011, 02:36 AM
 
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No thank you; I think I've done more to help you understand why massive school districts do not save money or help performance issues. It can be automatically assumed that administration cuts are made when districts are consolidated and it still costs more to teach each student once a district reaches a certain size. You are not thinking about the scale of things. You can easily apply my example to a larger scale, except, a smaller percentage of administrators would be wiped out. My example showed how much money would go to 90,000 students if you wiped out 100% of the administration. I still believe that cutting administrators by consolidating the school districts would save the state a lot of money altogether, but it would only amount to a few bucks per student relatively speaking. The point of consolidating the school districts is to save money, not redistribute it to another area of spending.

Fixing the funding problem at the state would ensure that each district gets the same amount of money whether it be at the county level or independent school district level. If there were to still be a risk of individual schools getting different amounts of money, that would be the fault of the district and wouldn't change if the district were county-wide.

Last edited by L210; 01-29-2011 at 02:53 AM..
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Old 02-14-2011, 10:47 PM
 
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I am a public school teacher at a small 2a high school that consistently receives exemplary ratings. Even so, I advocate the consolidation of school districts into a system of city and county schools. Bexar county where I work has 18 independent school districts. One example, SAISD pays central office staff, i.e. superintendent, assistant superintendents, directors, etc. almost 3 million dollars per year. A centralized staff would reduce administrative redundancy by 30-40 million dollars annually. I realize not every county in the state would reap such benefits but the savings could be immense and directed to staffing at levels who are directly responsible for the students. I also realize this will never happen as each little fiefdom will insist on keeping its little power niche no matter what the cost to taxpayers in wasted duplication of effort. Besides, how else can we keep the schools semi-segregated if we broaden the districts to serve all. The effort would be daunting requiring changes in school funding and directing it away from local property taxes to a uniform state wide system. It is a shame most legislators are too busy trying to ensure re-election that they will not tackle the difficult issues.
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recurve57 View Post
One example, SAISD pays central office staff, i.e. superintendent, assistant superintendents, directors, etc. almost 3 million dollars per year.
Three million?! My goodness! What a waste of taxpayer money! Especially in a district where the majority of the residents live at, below or very close to the poverty line. I knew it was excessive but I didn't know it was that much. That three million dollars should be GOING TO THE STUDENTS not loading the pockets of these very well-paid administrators.

I'd support the layoffs of the high-earners making a good living on the taxpayers dime rather than laying off a teacher.

Regardless, cuts need to be made and should be made since our state's lawmakers allowed a $27 billion dollar-shortfall to take place on their watch.
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:13 AM
 
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$3 million doesn't sound like a lot at all; it's only a tiny percentage of SAISD's budget. To be more specific, that's only 0.75% of SAISD's total budget. That $3 million would only amount to a few dollars per student. SAISD already spends more money per student than NISD and still has a 20% dropout rate while NISD's is under 6%. There are about 281,000 students in San Antonio. A savings of $40 million a year only amounts to $142 per student. NISD spends more than $7,00 per student, SAISD spends more than $8,000 per student, and NEISD spends over $9,000 per student. $142 is chump change in comparison. Consolidating the school districts could save the state money as a whole, but individual students aren't going to see a huge increase in spending.

When a teacher makes $40,000-50,000 per year, how much do expect an administrator to get paid? Maybe some positions could be cut, but the salaries are not extravagant considering the experience and educational requirements along with the amount of responsibility that comes with the job.

Northside ISD Salaries | Government Employee Salaries | The Texas Tribune

How much would you pay a superintendent with a PhD, over 40 years of experience, and overseeing a district of 90,000 students?

If you want to see exorbitant salaries....

http://www.texastribune.org/library/...oyee-salaries/

Dr. Kevin Gill is just a professor and he gets $1 million a year. He's even a practicing surgeon on top of that.

Last edited by L210; 02-15-2011 at 07:56 AM..
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