Topic of School District Consolidation Heats up in Delaware - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Topic of School District Consolidation Heats up in Delaware

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DOVER, Del. -- A task force aimed at discussing the number of school districts in Delaware amid calls for consolidation of the state's nearly 20 districts met for the first time this week.

The task force, which includes a number of lawmakers, school district representatives, and parents, was formed after legislation was passed in the General Assembly this year.

Some lawmakers have been pushing for a reduction of the 19 school districts in Delaware, saying it could save the state a significant amount of money.

"Regardless of how one feels about combining school districts, there's no question we need to be aggressively looking at consolidating services," said Sen. Colin Bonini (R-Dover South), who said positions like transportation managers should be handled at the state level.

But some school board members in parts of Delaware have said the idea of consolidating school districts may not get the result some supporters claim it will.

"Consolidating school districts is not going to save all this money everybody thinks it's going to," said Sean Christiansen, the president of the Capital School Board.

Jeff Reed of Dover, a volunteer and member of the Modern Maturity Center, said he does not want to see additional cuts to state funding for the center, like the 20 percent across-the-board reduction in state grant-in-aid money that was passed by the General Assembly.

If it meant preventing future cuts, Reed said he would be in favor of consolidating districts, but only if it happened upstate.

"It's not an equal thing between New Castle and the rest of us. New Castle has their own problems. They're the ones that should consolidate," he said.

Lani Lowe of Dover said she didn't necessarily think consolidating school districts was a good idea, especially if it resulted in fewer teachers in classrooms.

However, Lowe said the task force looking at the issue of consolidation need to have clear standards on whether consolidation would improve education.

"Tell me what you're basing it on," she said. "If it's based on quality, I'm good with it. Tell me it's not producing anything, not so much."

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