WIS Perspective: An editorial on merging school districts by General Manager Donita Todd

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A group of South Carolina educators could be appointed to a task force to once again study the merits of merging some of our 85 school districts. The Senate must approve a bill to create the task force, and then it goes to the House.  It seems we have this discussion every year in the State House, but nothing ever comes of it. I'm hopeful that given our state's current budget woes legislators will take a more serious look at the economic and strategic benefits of some form of consolidation.

Previous studies found significant savings in merging some districts but warned against a cookie cutter approach.  Scott Price of the SC School Boards Association recommends that legislators turn to local schools districts for suggestions on consolidation and incentize them to do it.  Successful efforts are being explored in districts such as Marion County where the districts are sharing a superintendent, and the new district being formed by combining Dillon 1 and 2 into Dillon 4 later this summer.

Given our state's budget constraints, it just doesn't make sense  to have duplicative administrative, legal and human resource costs in so many school districts.  I agree with Senator Darrel Jackson's statement that the ultimate goal should be to put more resources in the classroom.

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