Other Voices: Let’s unify county’s school districts
I keep reading the newspaper regarding the plight of the schools in Nevada County. We currently have 10 individual school districts — each with a superintendent (well, I think we have one that is sharing the duties of two districts) each with a full staff – business manager, etc., etc., and their own school board.
All of these administrators are serving a total of about 12,000 (and declining enrollment) students. What a waste! And why do we need 55 board members? And on top of that, we have a superintendent of schools and full staff. Why do we have all of these? I believe that if John Q Public was fully informed about the benefits of unification properly done they would vote on it in an instant.
Right now the people who are in charge of exploring unification are the ones who would be most affected by this happening — the superintendents – duh! That is like putting the fox in the chickenhouse to protect the chickens. They are using scare tactics with things that are foolish. We have great teachers here in Nevada County who are trying hard to educate our kids with minimum supplies — overcrowded classrooms and, in my estimation, probably afraid to speak up against the administration. That is understandable — no one likes to lose their job.
With the proper unification, only the administration of these districts would be affected — there would be no need to close schools, the teachers would keep their jobs, the students would go to the same classrooms and have more money for educational supplies.
We would need one personnel director and staff to be over all personnel – that would encompass both certificated and classified. Use one (not 12) salary schedule for certificated and one (not 12) for the classified employees. The idea that this is not possible is ridiculous – it is called negotiating. Hopefully not by the superintendents. Also imagine the negotiating power of combined health benefit plan.
We would need a maintenance and operation director and staff to oversee the entire operation – they would have regular crew at each facility if needed and a crew of workers that would be used anywhere they were needed.
We would need transportation director (we already have that with Durham).
We would need a cafeteria manager (we have that already with Central Kitchen).
We would need data processing (we already have that — data processing services all districts now).
There would be no need to change districts’ names.
We would need one (not 12) business manager with staff. This would combine all districts budgets into one. Currently, all districts are doing the same things, and sending the same reports to the state and federal governments. All student and classroom allocations would be the same. All payrolls and account payables would be done by this same staff. All attendance accounting would be supervised by this department.
This business manager would answer directly to the superintendent of schools and the school board. One school board, not 12. We could have a school board comprised of one member from each district. (Currently we have 55 school board members for 12,000 students. They do not serve unfunded — some get a stipend – some get fully paid health benefits for them and their families — some attend conferences, etc., at the expense of the school district.
Libraries would be able to use each other’s books, references and facilities.
Audio Visual and electronic equipment (usually too expensive for all schools) would be able to be shared with every school.
This unification would also be helpful to the state of California as instead of the flow of 12 or 13 different reports, it would all be unified into one report.
Now this may seem like a pipe-dream but it is possible — but only with the help of John Q Public — that is all of us. We need to step forward and have our voices heard — after all it is our students, our teachers who needs this help — you can help this to happen — or you can just sit by and hope someone else will do it. Your choice.
Shirley J. Davis lives in Grass Valley.
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