Move to streamline local school district management numbers

oday’s continuation of the Sun-Gazette’s Right to Know Project features a breakdown of the salaries and benefits of the superintendents of the region’s school districts.

These superintendents are the CEOs of districts with multi-million dollar budgets and have responsibilities that range from day-to-day staff and student issues to long-term planning to building emergency plans.

They’ve got a lot on their plates.

They’ve got tough jobs with around-the-clock responsibilities.

And they are well compensated, with six-figure annual salaries.

Beyond that, they have benefits that many leaders in the private sector don’t get, such as pay for each day of sick leave beyond retirement and health care packages that extend after they leave their positions.

Apart from the dollars and benefits, there are structural issues related to the state they work in, Pennsylvania.

This state has 501 school districts, eight in Lycoming County alone.

All of them have a superintendent and assistants below them.

That’s a lot of administration, a lot of salary and benefits costs for each district.

In Florida, a fairly comparable state, school districts are countywide, with one superintendent overseeing perhaps 35 to 40 schools.

We doubt their jobs are any easier.

We doubt their responsibilities are less daunting, and suspect they may have more on their plate.

Pennsylvania’s breakdown into more than 500 separate school district fiefdoms mirrors its municipality setup.

And just as we have advocated regionalization and/or consolidation of services in these municipalities and it’s starting to happen out of necessity we believe it’s time for similar change in the state’s public school setup.

We’re not advocating taking the identity away from individual schools, just an administrative setup that fits the drops in student population of the past 50 years.

We believe there are savings to be gleaned from a more streamlined administration setup without a loss in efficiency.

We are well aware of the political blockades to such change.

Those walls need to be broken down.