School Consolidation Debate

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School Consolidation Debate 1731
In recent years, municipal governments across America have found themselves searching for ways to trim costs by consolidating services with other municipal governments in the counties they’re in. They have consolidated law enforcement agencies, sanitation, health departments, municipal courts, etc. But in many of those counties, school systems have been left out of the discussion. In 2010, the Memphis City School (MSC) system made a failed attempt to merge with the Shelby County School (SCS) system through a referendum vote. Later that year, the MCS school board voted to surrender their charter thus legally forcing a merger of the two systems. This paper will attempt to weigh the pros and cons of operating a school system of more than 100,000 students from funding, quality of education, to the effects charter schools will have on the system and community. Good start, add you major arguments here in summary form.

One of the first issues that may surface when two school systems consolidate will be funding. Many states use different formulas for calculating the disbursement of their educational funds SCS and MCS funding relied on funding from similar and separate sources. SCS received their funding from the state of Tennessee and Shelby County. After the surrender of the MCS charter by the MCS Board of Commissioners, MCS ceased to exist in a legal state. MCS relied on three sources which were the state of Tennessee, Shelby County, and the city of Memphis. Due to the fact that MCS has been absorbed by SCS, the city of Memphis is no longer obligated to be a source of financial support for the new unified school district under state law. That essentially removes roughly 80 million dollars a year from the school budget. Shelby county and the state of Tennessee are now responsible for 100% school funding in Shelby County. This seems a bit unfair.But on the other hand, MCS bring with it a host of urban education initiative grants that SCS lack. One in particular would be the 100 million dollar grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which provides money to hire more qualified teachers in the district. There are a lot of issues and challenges that each state has to deal with. In order to run schools and improve schools you must go about it using the proper resources. School budgets and the ways they are financed vary from state to state and school district to school district. When the economic downturn began in 2007, most states across the country made cuts, some drastic, on their education budgets which provides financing to the local districts. The cuts in funding caused many districts to eliminate some programs, sports, transportation and even teacher lay-offs. Many districts have been under increased scrutiny from citizens over questionable spending. Twenty percent of Americans say that decreased funding is the biggest problem that local school districts face and it must change. School systems across the nation face the daily task of making necessary cuts and being creative in fundraising in order to maintain an acceptable level of quality education to the communities they serve. References? Where is the voice of the county on this issue?

One significant debate taking place within public school districts all across the United States is the creation of new charter school programs. Charter schools are still in sense a part of the public school system due to the fact they are not allowed to charge tuition and most use facilities and land owned by the public school systems they’re located in. Most charter schools offer students a chance to specialize and focus on certain areas of curriculum such as arts, sciences, and mathematics. The funding for charter schools varies in each state but most of the funding comes from the public and also from private donations by members, groups or organizations within the community. Teachers, parents of the students and different...
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