The discussion, however, withered under objections from citizens concerned about the loss of local autonomy and school-community identity.
Local Indiana school districts and the state Legislature should re-examine consolidation soon. The potential for saving money while increasing academic and extracurricular programming for students is worth exploring.
School boards and legislators must avoid a common mistake that occurs when the topic of consolidation surfaces — superintendents, the group that stands to lose jobs, are turned to as experts. But they are certainly not disinterested.
Indiana should follow Michigan’s lead in considering a model that Florida, Virginia and Maryland have. School districts, for the most part, are countywide, with just one central office.
In Madison County, for example, such countywide district consolidation would reduce the number of districts from five to one, thereby reducing the number of high-paid superintendents from five to one. And it would enable — through the economics of scale — reduced costs for transportation, food and other resources.
In summary Indiana should follow Michigan's lead in considering a model that Florida, Virginia and Maryland have. School districts, for the most part, are countywide, with just one central office.