Late last week, the Northwest Herald praised Crystal Lake School District 155 and its four elementary school feeder districts for holding a meeting for a meeting for all grade and high school teachers.
Nothing wrong with that.
Articulation between the education given at grade schools and high schools is highly desirable.
At the end of the editorial, however, the schools were encouraged to consolidate.
The problem with that suggestion, which is not intuitively unthinkable, is that it would cost big money (and not the kind of “big money” sought on Wheel of Fortune).
Just last Tuesday I re-ran a 2011 analysis of what it would have cost taxpayers in District 155 if consolidation had occurred that year.
If you have not read the article, click on the title below and take a look at my logic. (If you can refute it, the comments section is for you.)
I did the cost-benefit analysis in 2011, but I doubt there’s been much change.
The problem with the idea of consolidation is that grade school teachers are paid substantially less than District 155 high school teachers.
Under consolidation, there would undoubtedly be one teachers union.
I believe salaries would be equalized up, not down.
The combined union would be controlled by the less-well-paid elementary school teachers (because there are more of them).
Four years ago the average grade school teacher was paid about $31,000 less than the average high school teacher.
There were about 900 grade school teachers.
Do the multiplication.
Four years ago, equalizing salaries up would have cost about $25 million.
Getting rid of all the administrators in the high school and grade school districts would not have saved $25 million.
When Governor Pat Quinn made his 2011 pitch, he said $100 million could be saved statewide in administrators’ salaries–about one-half of one percent of what was spent on Illinois schools.
Back in 2011, the Northwest Herald wrote,
“… there’s no good reason why towns such as Cary, Crystal Lake and McHenry should have separate elementary and high school districts.”
Increasing taxes by over $20 million strikes me as a “good reason” not to consolidate elementary and high schools.
What do you think?