Sunday, March 29, 2009

Gov. Rendell School Consolidation Commission Loophole

Beware. The commission Gov. Rendell wants to have the state legislature to create to study the issue of school consolidation across Pennsylvania has a huge loophole.

If created by the state legislators, after studying the issue, the commission is supposed to present or recommend two plans for the General Assembly to consider.

But, Rendell's proposal enables in the event the General Assembly nixes either of the recommended plans, the authority for consolidating would revert to the state Department of Education.

Isn't that nice?

Net the Truth Online

Pa. official grilled on graduation exam, school mergers
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
By Tom Barnes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
HARRISBURG -- State Education Secretary Gerald Zahorchak ran into a bipartisan buzzsaw today before the Senate Appropriations Committee, as he was assailed for trying to reduce the state's 501 school districts to just 100 and for pushing to develop a new high school graduation test.

Democratic Sens. Sean Logan of Monroeville and Andrew Dinniman of Chester questioned Gov. Ed Rendell's controversial idea of consolidating school districts.

Mr. Logan said it had been tough enough just to close Duquesne High School and transfer those 135 students to nearby high schools.

"How are we going to deal with transferring millions of students if the districts are reduced to 100?'' he said.

Mr. Dinniman asked where the number of 100 came from.

Mr. Zahorchak, who is Mr. Rendell's point man on several emotional education issues, said some people had talked about having just one school district per county, and there are 67 counties. Larger counties, such as Allegheny, would probably need several school districts, so the figure of 100 came up, he said.

Mr. Zahorchak said the upcoming merger of Monaca and Center districts in Beaver County could provide a blueprint for other combinations.

The school district consolidation idea did get some support from Sen. John Wozniak, D-Cambria, who said a study by a legislative committee a couple years ago supported the idea and said that about 2,500 students was a good number for each district

Mr. Rendell wants the Legislature to set up a committee to study the consolidation idea and settle on a different, lower number of districts if it chooses.

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