Incentives for consolidating school districts

Although education spending and property tax rates to support school budgets have continued to climb, Vermont’s public school system has shed more than 24,000 pupils since 1997.

Staff and teacher ratios meanwhile have remained constant.

But it is not enough money to truly make a difference unless it is coupled with specific policy reforms that encourage and help school districts to work together to improve efficiency and better serve students.And yet Erie County’s public schools recorded the steepest percent decline in enrollment between 2007-08 and the 2012-13 school years among the state’s counties and boroughs whose school districts enrolled 100,000 or more students in kindergarten through high school, according to a Buffalo News analysis of state Education Department data.Enrollment in school districts in Erie County decreased 8.5 percent during that five-year span, falling from 126,925 students to 116,104 students. Most were common school districts providing education only through the 8th grade; many were organized around a one-room school. By the beginning of this century over 10,000 school districts were in existence.

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While Le Page is right to be concerned about education spending, every superintendent in the state could be eliminated — which we don’t recommend, by the way — and it would not make much of a dent in the state’s school funding woes.

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