Issues in Unification and Consolidation of Arizona School Districts
A school district adopts a concrete educational administration in countries like the United States and Canada. School districts are responsible for the administration of all schools in a given public area, which may be an entire township or part thereof. It is a single political body equivalent to a city or a county as they have various powers, such as collecting taxes.
School districts have a legislature body called the school board, board of trustees or school board, whose members are directly elected by the people through the holding elections. These members, in turn, have a responsibility to choose a superintendent (supervisor), usually a highly qualified teacher to act as chief executive of the council responsible for making decisions and implementing policies. Occasionally, the District may act as judiciary, applying sanctions to employees or students.
In the United States, not all public school systems constitute school districts as distinct bodies. In some states, such as Maryland, all school systems are subordinated by the state government. Other states, like New York have school districts controlled by public and independent school systems, subordinate to a county or city (Caitlin, n.da). In 2002 , there are 13,506 U.S. school districts, 178 school systems were administered directly by the state while 1330 school systems are administered directly by the city or county where they operate, and 1,196 by education agencies. Currently the largest school districts in the U.S. are unified school districts of New York and Los Angeles.
Scope of the Paper
Unification and consolidation of school districts is at present, an emerging phenomenon. This paper will talk about the financial issues/solutions with respect to the unification and consolidation of school districts in U.S state Arizona.
The unification of school districts involves a merger between a high-school and elementary-school district to turn into a K-12 district while consolidation, on the other hand involves combinations of high-school or elementary districts.
With respect to unification and consolidation of Arizona school districts. A joint legislative committee was formed that recommended that every county school superintendent in Arizona has to perform a study the feasibility of school-district unification and consolidation in their jurisdiction (Caitlin, n.d). This study was meant to examine that impact of unification or consolidation on taxes, bonds and overrides, estimates of potential savings and efficiencies and preservation of local control. In this respect there were several issues faced that will be considered further in this paper.
Most school district consolidations involve small rural school districts. In the past, however, published research about rural education issues has been limited, with relatively few scholars studying rural education issues found specifically in small rural settings. There is a need to enhance the education of rural students has become more evident. Moreover, small rural school districts require sound guidance on how to improve their students' academic outcomes. Consolidation is one of the areas where sound guidance is needed.
There is clear evidence that small-school consolidation makes a real and measureable difference in the areas of financial savings ...