Rendell's school fix has too many losers

Rendell's school fix has too many losers

There are 19 comments on the The Morning Call story from Jun 18, 2008, titled Rendell's school fix has too many losers. In it, The Morning Call reports that:

On June 3, legislation moved out of the House Education Committee that would change the way Pennsylvania 's 501 school districts are funded.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Morning Call.

Smilin Bob

Livingston, TX

#1 Jun 18, 2008
As usual, this legislator like many others are missing the boat. The Pennsylvania public educational system itself is antiquated, dysfunctional, and it's organization exists from a time when Pennsylvania was basically agrarian. That is no longer the case. We simply have no need for 501 school districts. If one looks at all the states, the average number of school districts per state is slightly over 300. If PA were to go to a county school district format (67), the elimination of Superintendent jobs alone would be a savings to taxpayers of almost $6 million in salary alone (assuming an average superintendent salary of $135,000;some earn much more than that)!

Funding for the districts by property tax is also out of touch with the reality of Pennsylvania today and was designed for a time when properties made money for people, as in farmers. Until our legislators start facing the REAL issue and redesign our school system, we will continue to face this funding crisis, year after year. Ask yourself how long this has been going on? This kind of reminds me of the carpenter who cut the same board three times and said it was still too short!
The issue

Macungie, PA

#2 Jun 18, 2008
This is very misleading. The author fails to mention the huge gaps that exist in per student spending and tax effort in many communities vs others.

This letter is immoral at best. No excuse can be made for the education inequity that exists in this state.
Benchmark what works

Macungie, PA

#3 Jun 18, 2008
Hey Spendell - Why don't you spend 5 minutes and ask DELAWARE how they do it? I worked in a fortune 500 corporation for over 20 years and when we couldn't figure out a large problem we admitted it and asked other companies to show us how to be better. Admit that you don't know how to fix the issue (and all the other ones) and go benchmark the states that have already figured it out - DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!
Absolutely true

Skippack, PA

#4 Jun 18, 2008
The issue wrote:
No excuse can be made for the education inequity that exists in this state.
You are absolutely right. One main problem is the fact that we live in a (mainly) "us vs. them' society. Far too many people won't allow the fact that different districts face different obstacles come into their mindset. For example, Allentown has a high enrollment of kids who are ESOL, and teaching these kids requires more money than is needed to teach other kids. The fact that Allentown's tax rate is actually one of the highest in the Lehigh Valley, coupled with lower property values from homes filled with far too many kids results in financial disaster for ASD.

A previous poster wrote that county wide schools would be a good idea.I agree with this idea, one which was supported in a previous costing-out study that was done for Allentown.
Unfortunately, once again, the selfish attitudes of people would never let an idea like this happen. After all, their kids just might have to mix with kids from a lower socioeconomic status than theirs.
ddkoe

Allentown, PA

#5 Jun 18, 2008
The issue wrote:
This is very misleading. The author fails to mention the huge gaps that exist in per student spending and tax effort in many communities vs others.
This letter is immoral at best. No excuse can be made for the education inequity that exists in this state.
You are right on!
snowman Bath PA

Nazareth, PA

#6 Jun 18, 2008
And then we will have to have sixty board members from each little bailliwick in the county so they all get a representative, and then they all will want a salary and pension and perks because they have to watchover all these schools(which they DON'T DO NOW). I'd love to see ASD and BASD school directors decdide who is going, my choice..... BOTH. Neither one has done anything to improve their school districts or the education of the students, but they got a lot of junk like laptops that can't be found, etc. I do not want to see these schools report to nyone but their school districts. I sure as h e l l don't want them to report to any politician or secretary of education who only have their jobs to care for and nothing else.
Phil the Groundhog

Newark, DE

#7 Jun 18, 2008
I don't recall seeing any restriction placed on people as to where they can live and raise their children. People are free to move to whatever school district they want. If the district is underperforming, move to one that isn't. There's plenty of good districts in this state with affordable housing to choose from. Also, this myth that more money is the key to education is one that is consistently thrown at us by teacher's unions and liberal politicians that draw huge support from those unions. Teachers love to say that you can't hold them accountable with metrics like testing because there are so many other variables involved in a student's scores like their home life but yet uniformly support the notion that more money will suddenly make kids better students. Can't have it both ways. If you get the money you should be held accountable for results. So, go ahead and tax me more but I want to see the reports in five years showing huge progress in those districts receiving double digit funding increases. I'm willing to bet that you won't see any statistical significance other than more administrative costs and higher teacher salaries and pensions as a result.
Absolutely true wrote:
<quoted text>
You are absolutely right. One main problem is the fact that we live in a (mainly) "us vs. them' society. Far too many people won't allow the fact that different districts face different obstacles come into their mindset. For example, Allentown has a high enrollment of kids who are ESOL, and teaching these kids requires more money than is needed to teach other kids. The fact that Allentown's tax rate is actually one of the highest in the Lehigh Valley, coupled with lower property values from homes filled with far too many kids results in financial disaster for ASD.
A previous poster wrote that county wide schools would be a good idea.I agree with this idea, one which was supported in a previous costing-out study that was done for Allentown.
Unfortunately, once again, the selfish attitudes of people would never let an idea like this happen. After all, their kids just might have to mix with kids from a lower socioeconomic status than theirs.
Regionalize

Reading, PA

#8 Jun 18, 2008
All or part of ten school districts fall within Northampton County. Ten. Ten wasteful school boards. Ten grossly overpaid superintendents. Ten plans for building maintenance, tax collection, collective bargaining, and on and on.

Lots of big fish in small ponds controlling little fiefdoms and wasting millions of taxpayer dollars through inefficiency and contempt for the public.

The current system keeps large populations of undesirables from creeping into Parkland and Nazareth. They pay high taxes to insure their kids do not go to school with what walks the halls in Easton and Allentown.

Maybe Barack Osama was right with his, "clinging to guns and religion," assessment of average Pennsylvanians. Perhaps he should have included clinging to their little school districts.
WOW

Allentown, PA

#9 Jun 18, 2008
America ranks 27th in education in the world today and we spend many times more. What is wrong? What needs to be done to repair it.

Rrform school for those who just are untrainable and can't get along.

Vocational Schools for the ones that just don't know what they want.

Truely advanced school for those who stand above all the rest.

Face the facts we are not all equal and we must seperate the categories for the betterment of the individual and the survival of the nation.
Michael

Pittsburgh, PA

#10 Jun 18, 2008
I think that the state should not be involved in redistributing local school taxes. It is not fair the school districts that want to improve the quality of education in the area. The roll of the state should be administrative in the quality of education. Let the local school districts and parents decide how to spend the money
sbcos

Zionhill, PA

#11 Jun 18, 2008
I already am taxed to death I live in Quakertown , and I have had enough! I pay over 4k a year for school tax. It is time to draw the line . ENOUGH IS ENOUGH , figure it out smart guys!
Matt_PSU

Pen Argyl, PA

#12 Jun 18, 2008
Smilin Bob wrote:
As usual, this legislator like many others are missing the boat. The Pennsylvania public educational system itself is antiquated, dysfunctional, and it's organization exists from a time when Pennsylvania was basically agrarian. That is no longer the case. We simply have no need for 501 school districts. If one looks at all the states, the average number of school districts per state is slightly over 300. If PA were to go to a county school district format (67), the elimination of Superintendent jobs alone would be a savings to taxpayers of almost $6 million in salary alone (assuming an average superintendent salary of $135,000;some earn much more than that)!
Funding for the districts by property tax is also out of touch with the reality of Pennsylvania today and was designed for a time when properties made money for people, as in farmers. Until our legislators start facing the REAL issue and redesign our school system, we will continue to face this funding crisis, year after year. Ask yourself how long this has been going on? This kind of reminds me of the carpenter who cut the same board three times and said it was still too short!
For once I agree with you. The Salisburies and Catasaquas of PA should have been merged years ago, but the bottom line is they won't unless they are forced to.
Matt_PSU

Pen Argyl, PA

#13 Jun 18, 2008
This measure will turn PA into another NJ. The good school districts will have basically no state funding while their taxpayers foot the bill for all the poor districts in the state.

This is exactly the system that led to 12,000 tax bill for a 4br house in suburbia in north jersey... and it will do the same here if given the chance.
Philadelphian

Peckville, PA

#14 Jun 20, 2008
Pennsylvania is a loser with Fast Eddie.
TNGuy

Jefferson City, TN

#15 Aug 3, 2008
Wow! 501 school districts? TN has 136. The comment that the U.S. ranks 27th in education is a number that should be considered with caution. In the U.S., we count EVERYONE when reporting standardized test scores. MANY countries only report college bound in these comparisons, with the vocational and special education populations ommitted. That being said, I was thinking of a trip to the New Hope area. I understand there are many art/music attractions? Any suggestions are appreciated. Than you.
Reality Bites

Salfordville, PA

#16 Aug 3, 2008
Matt_PSU wrote:
This measure will turn PA into another NJ. The good school districts will have basically no state funding while their taxpayers foot the bill for all the poor districts in the state.
This is exactly the system that led to 12,000 tax bill for a 4br house in suburbia in north jersey... and it will do the same here if given the chance.
Poor public school districts have no tax base to support their school system. Are we suppose to let them rot away and hurt thousands of kids? Proportional funding is a fair. Central Bucks should not receive the same funding as a school district in Philly, Pittsburgh, or Allentown.
TNGuy

Jefferson City, TN

#17 Aug 4, 2008
I know I am not from PA, but TN had a lawsuit a few years ago over poor districts not having an equal educational opportunity. The less fortunate counties won and that resulted in a major change in school funding from the state.
Portia

Calhoun, LA

#18 Aug 8, 2008
Then TNGuy, you also know that the state took over the schools in Davidson County because of their failure to meet the standards set forth, and repeated poor performance on the Gateway tests given every year. Sad, sad, sad.
TNGuy

Jefferson City, TN

#19 Sep 11, 2008
Portia wrote:
Then TNGuy, you also know that the state took over the schools in Davidson County because of their failure to meet the standards set forth, and repeated poor performance on the Gateway tests given every year. Sad, sad, sad.
I did not know that Davidson County (Nashville) had been taken over by the state. I do know that TN does a terrible job of funding schools in general. I assume that the school failure is directly tied to inadequate staff, training, etc??? Thanks for responding and filling me in.

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