Policy group urges Ohio to eliminate 200+ school districts

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19)  - The Greater Ohio Policy Center and the Brookings Institute are urging the state to consolidate a third of its 613 school districts.

The policy group says it's all to cut costs, and it's just one of 39 recommendations to better position Ohio for the future.

The report's authors say Ohio ranks 47th out of 50 states when it comes to spending on elementary and secondary education, but researchers add Ohio spends the ninth most on administrators' salaries. The group said consolidating districts would essentially cut out the middle man and funnel more cash into the classroom.

"It's a matter of where we want to cut to invest," said Lavea Brachman of the Greater Ohio Policy Center. "we'd rather have investments be in the classroom than at the administrative level."

Brachman said the recommendations are meant to encourage state leaders to consider new options. Brachman also said the group does not have specific ideas on how the state should decide which districts should be eliminated. She did say several districts in the state and around the country have consolidated recently.

FOX 19 spoke with one local school administrator about the idea. Winton Woods School Board President Jack Lee said he understands the reasoning behind it, but adds, many children could suffer.

"Really, it would boil down to the community," Lee said. "It's the whole reason why communities have different school districts. Different communities value education at different levels."

A spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education says right now leaders are not considering the issue, and ultimately, the decision would be up to local districts, not the state.

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