The School Administrator

May 2010

May 2010 Number 5, Vol. 67ConsolidationBenefits, costs and the mascot factor in district mergers


  • School District Consolidation:The Benefits and Costs


    A pair of Syracuse University professors summarize what recent research reveals about expected financial savings when small districts merge. They lay out the policy implications, too.

    Similar Reading: An Annexation Measured in Student Satisfaction and Embracing Consolidation in Rural Maine

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  • A Case Study of School District Consolidation


    The author of a state-funded case study of century-old governance in western Massachusetts’ Franklin County details a series of options for the public school districts. At issue is how to introduce a sensible economic structure while preserving the community character of the schools.

    Similar Reading: Civil and Uncivil Conversations About the ‘C-Word’ in Wisconsin

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  • The Collision of Athletics and Consolidation


    Fearing the loss of their identity, small communities often resist consolidation to protect their schools’ interscholastic sports teams. For the adults involved, the emotional tussles are inextricably entangled with Friday night fervor, team colors and mascots.

    Similar Reading: Resisting Consolidation in Michigan

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  • Reimagining Education in Small Towns


    To combat what they see as a hollowing out process, the authors want rural schools to target students for the modern, postindustrial workplace with employer collaboration. Their work describes the Achievers, Seekers, Stayers and other distinctive groups that constitute these small towns in decline.

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    A Classroom Teacher at Heart by Paul Riede

    Her heart still lies in the classroom, which may be why Cynthia Stevenson was an appealing selection as a finalist in the 2010 superintendent of the year competition.

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    Board-Savvy Superintendent

    When a Board Majority Is Not Enough by DONALD R. McADAMS

    A superintendent can live with a split school board and may have no choice. But when a complex recommendation seeks a significant change in a school district, a simple majority may not be sufficient.

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    Guest Columns

    The Seven Deadly Sins of Making Demands by RON ASHKENAS

    Most managers struggle with finding the right balance between being too tough or too easy, yet setting challenging goals and sticking to them may be the best way to develop people and to accomplish things.

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    Making Time to Think by CHRIS HITCH

    The author is certain he’s not alone in feeling guilty of moving constantly from one meeting to the next, scheduling meetings back to back and failing to do his homework to dig into the issue.

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    Our monthly compendium of superintendent appointments and retirements across the nation.

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    Punchback: Answering Critics

    Beware of Advocates Bearing Polls by WILLIAM J. MATHIS

    In education, polling can be a great help to superintendents, boards of education and legislators in gauging public sentiment on local, state and national issues. But local school leaders should be cautious when either reading or conducting a survey.

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    A Superintendent’s Hand in Promoting 21st-Century Skills by DONNA J. DESIATO

    A suburban superintendent finds her own ways to provide real-life experiences for high schoolers to apply critical thinking, collaboration and public speaking.

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    President's Corner

    Join Me in the River by MARK T. BIELANG

    When you look at flowing water, you’re really looking at processes. The river metaphor illustrates some useful concepts for helping us reimagine our own professional association.

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    Executive Perspective

    The Attraction of Charters: Waived Rules by DANIEL A. DOMENECH

    The Obama administration has charter schools foremost in mind as a transformation strategy. Of course, what superintendent would object to being freed of existing laws, rules and regulations to fix failing schools?

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