TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Legislative Post Audit Committee heard a proposal today that could impact several school districts in our area. (VIDEO INCLUDED)
It was a performance audit report that outlined how Kansas could save millions of dollars by reorganizing its school districts.
The post audit review suggests two scenarios. The first would consolidate any districts that don’t offer grades 1-12 and have at least 400 students or 200 square miles. That means Osage City and Burlingame would combine. So would Lyndon and Marais Des Cygnes.
The second plan would consolidate any district with fewer than 1,600 students. Researchers say districts of more than 1,600 operate at peak efficiency, but that scenario would combine 40 districts in our viewing area into 12. That includes combining Perry and Shawnee Heights, and Seaman and Silver Lake.
Critics say the plan fails to address important details. "Obviously they did not take into account class size or how far kids would have to be bussed," Rep. Ann Mah, D-Topeka, said.
They agree that some consolidation is vital to saving fine arts programs, but the process will be emotional and the planning will require more time and attention to detail.
"It's the fear of the unknown that really gets the parents upset," Rex Bollinger, Superintendent of Doniphan West said.
"Sometimes what may save you money is really bad policy," Mah added.
Now the Post Audit Committee will consider the plans and decide how to most effectively save money for the state.
For more information visit http://www.kslegislature.org/postaudit/audits_progress/school_district_restructuring.pdf
The second scenario combines the following school districts in our area.
CLIFTON, CLYDE, CLAY CENTER
LEBO, WAVERLY, BURLINGTON, LEROY, GRIDLEY
NORTH LYON, SOUTH LYON, EMPORIA
WAMEGO, KAW VALLEY, ONAGA, HAVENSVILLE, WHEATON
NORTH JACKSON, HOLTON, ROYAL VALLEY
VALLEY FALLS, JEFFERSON COUNTY, JEFFERSON WEST, OSKALOOSA
PERRY, SHAWNEE HEIGHTS
SEAMAN, SILVER LAKE
HIAWATHA, SOUTH BROWN COUNTY
OSAGE CITY, LYNDON, SANTA FE, BURLINGAME, MARIAS DES CYGNES
SABETHA, NEMAHA VALLEY, B & B, AXTELL