Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why LASD didn't combine districts with the high school

There was a letter to the editor in today's Town Crier that asks a question I've heard several times. Folks wonder if it would be economically more efficient to combine LASD (and possible MVWSD) with the MVLA High School District.

We received a request from the Santa Clara County Grand Jury not long ago, asking the same question. Their own rough calculations were that it would save significant amounts of money, so we should do it.

There were many reasons not to combine with MVLA and MVWSD. Some of them are related to the unique nature of our educational program, and whether we'd be able to maintain that under a combined district. Those who aren't as close to our schools, though, might be skeptical of those answers.

For those folks, I have a simpler answer: It would cost us a fortune.

Under State law, when two school districts combine, the higher of the salary schedules becomes the schedule for all employees. For those unfamilar with teacher salaries, it's very common that high school teachers are paid more than elementary and middle school teachers. A quick calculation told us that we'd lose several million dollars every year by moving to this higher salary schedule.

Couple that fact, with the fact that we spend a scant 1.5% on central administration, and it just doesn't make any sense to combine with MVLA. We're pleased to send them our students, but the system serves us all better if we remain separate entities.

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