More on the NYC reforms:
Klein’s management approach has been a bit herky-jerky. While his first years were marked by a tightly controlled, top-down management style, more recently he did an about-face toward decentralization that he prefers to characterize as a natural evolution. . . .
I suspect that busing costs alone will undermine the aspect of the Readiness proposals in Mass. that would further regionalize school districts. Many local officials in the Berkshires (and Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin Counties) felt burned by the state’s assurances that transportation costs would be reimbursed if municipalities created regional districts in the first place.
– Regional school bus transportation funding has never been 100%, the cost does reduce funds available for other school programs. (I know – someone will argue that gas money comes out of a separate pot than local or state appropriations for education, but the connection is there, even if it’s not direct.)
– Legislators with regional school districts are forced to fight at budget time every year to increase (or sustain) the transportation appropriation instead of advocating for other spending priorities for their districts.
The sense of betrayal over the costs of regional school bus transportation may mean that local officials slam the door on the Readiness proposals before they get very far into the text of the document.
Also – There are still non-operating school districts in some of the small towns where the “Live Free or Die” spirit is not just for out-of-state license plates. These small towns would rather pay an annual financial penalty to the state AND pay tuition costs to ship their students to a neighboring school district than join in the politics of active participation in a regional school district.
A few anecdotes about regional school district battles might also elucidate the likely resistance to that aspect of the Readiness proposal. Southern Berkshire Regional School District has had its moments hashing out representation as well as school consolidations and budget.
This will not be resistence originating with teacher’s unions. This will be coming from local officials and from taxpayers who want budget control and who want to preserve property values by ensuring that the local elementary school does not close or reduce its offerings.
Have fun storming the castle!