By Ralph Hipp
As a kid growing up in Florida, I had seen some of our county school administrators pictures only in the newspaper (our town didn't have a TV station or a newscast back then.) Now my old hometown has five stations, that still well-to-do newspaper, and plenty of schools named after those school district people I heard about. The current crop of kids probably wonder "is our school named for a real person??" But they were real school superintendents and experts who knew a lot back then about how children should be educated.. and disciplined.
Back in our homestate during the 60s, one school superintendent and one school board ran all the schools in the whole county. That's why, when I moved to Kansas, it took me a little while to get used to USD anything, that a school district only covered one or two towns, or part of a county. Given our current Kansas education situation, is the "county idea" a good one? Could it work? Mathematically, that would whittle our number of district to 105. One super instead of how many? In Kansas' defense, though.. I can't imagine Topeka, Wichita, Manhattan, Junction City or Emporia including its schools with the other schools in those counties and expecting one board to run them all. But how 'bout for the smaller areas? To make up for the metro areas, could several counties combine into one USD to make them more cost-efficient? Is that about to happen now anyway?
If you're a teacher, or education administrator, I would love to read your ideas of how Kansas could get more bang for its buck from our public schools. rh