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What's best: Referendum or Consolidation?

education economic developement planning policy elected officals clarksville jeffersonville charlestown sellersburg new washington

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Poll: Referendum & Consolidation (20 member(s) have cast votes)

Do you think a consolidation of Greater Clark County Schools, West Clark Community Schools, and Clarksville Community Schools would benefit the residents of Clark County better than potential referendums in the seperate corporations?

  1. Yes (4 votes [20.00%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 20.00%

  2. No (16 votes [80.00%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 80.00%

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#1 OpenEars

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Posted 13 May 2015 - 01:07 PM

Please read start to finish before responding: 

Residents who reside in the GCCS district of Clark County already pay a higher tax rate to the corporation than residents in Floyd Co ($0.58 vs. $0.54 until 2018 when it drops to $0.33).  Not to mention Clarksville Community's rate is $0.76 and West Clark Community is at $0.66...  Maybe the better solution is to consolidate GCCS, West Clark, and Clarksville Community Schools and REALLY plan for the future.

 

Everyone is aware of the West Clark's issues and of CCS's extremely low enrollment.  It remains to be seen if the new school will work to revitalize that district.  Right now is the perfect time to unify our educational programs to a regional level.  If Clark County is to ever truly compete on a regional platform and against surrounding school corporations (Floyd County, Oldham, etc) this will have to happen.  When I say compete, I am also including for new residents that will be relocating here with the continued growth of River Ridge.  We need to create as many advantages as possible to retain new regional residents.  If River Ridge brings all the jobs in the world to Clark County, we all lose if they do not live in Clark County... 

 

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who is not from here; "I know nothing of this area and my company is moving to this place called River Ridge.  Where am I going to move my family?  This place called Floyd County has some one the top schools in the state.  Or I can cross this new bridge and that side of the river has the top school corporation in the state of Kentucky and all the amenities in the world.  PLUS, it looks nicer because they really take care of it.  You can tell they set a high bar.  And then there is Clark County...  It has 3 school corporations, all mediocre at best.  I hear the county is broke and there is no plans of how to fix it.  The city of Jeff has a nice downtown but this traffic on the Hwy 62 is horrible.  Charlestown has a nice park but not sure about anything else..."

Before you answer the below question... Take a moment to remove yourself from the situation and set aside personal feelings.  Look at the big picture with 10, 20, and 30 year results of making a move like this today.

 

What do you think is best for our community, referendum or consolidation



#2 IntegrityMatters

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Posted 13 May 2015 - 01:36 PM

You need to have another option:    "Neither" 


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#3 kelley

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Posted 13 May 2015 - 02:15 PM

I appreciate you bringing this up, but I don't yet feel I have a strong enough grasp of the implications to have an opinion on consolidation. I'll try to learn more.

It's hard to conceive of a worse idea than raising taxes while eliminating neighborhood schools, so if this is a valid alternative to the referendum, I hope folks will look into it more.

#4 Jules

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Posted 13 May 2015 - 02:18 PM

My feeling is ( and has been for awhile) that they'll eventually consolidate...They almost have to...When, who knows though...But, probably the sooner the better for all the reasons you highlight.



#5 Tina

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Posted 13 May 2015 - 06:39 PM

I am never in favor of reducing parental choice.  Currently if parents are not happy with one district in Clark, they can transport their kids to another.  But inside a district, a board does not usually give parents a CHOICE of which school their children will attend.  Since the money follows the student, and the student would be staying "in" district, there is no incentive for districts to allow choice.

 

Also, in most cases of consolidation, it does not reduce costs.


Edited by Tina, 13 May 2015 - 06:41 PM.

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#6 Sweetpea

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Posted 13 May 2015 - 08:52 PM

I am never in favor of reducing parental choice.  Currently if parents are not happy with one district in Clark, they can transport their kids to another.  But inside a district, a board does not usually give parents a CHOICE of which school their children will attend.  Since the money follows the student, and the student would be staying "in" district, there is no incentive for districts to allow choice.
 
Also, in most cases of consolidation, it does not reduce costs.


not sure I following your last sentence. How could consolidation not save money? Please eleborate.

And I am pretty sure you can move your children within the State as long as there is room in the school and you provide transportation. What district does not allow students to move to a sister building?

#7 Tina

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Posted 13 May 2015 - 09:46 PM

In GCCS, can parents that live in the boundaries of Parkwood send their children to Utica? Can parents choose either River valley OR Parkview?

Because in West Clark if your boundary is Henryville or Borden, that's where you go. They do not allow IN district choices. (Meaning, a parent in a subdivision that is in Henryville's boundaries cannot CHOOSE Silver Creek instead.). They want out of district money, they already have the money for someone in district. There is no monetary incentive to allow choice IN district.

Has consolidation of assessment from townships to all county saved money? Has getting rid of city court saved money? All it does is change locations.

Running for school board is one of the most ruthless things one can sign up for as it is! I cannot even imagine the courage it would take to run against the powerfully connected if we consolidated. The school boards already control the largest budgets. The vying for control of that substantial pot would bring out some of the most vile races we've ever seen. It's bad enough as is. One big district? In Clark? Ha! No thanks.

Edited by Tina, 13 May 2015 - 09:54 PM.

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#8 Avid Reader

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Posted 13 May 2015 - 09:47 PM

not sure I following your last sentence. How could consolidation not save money? Please eleborate.
 

 

If all Clark County schools are consolidated, the corporation level administrators (superintendents, assistant supers, transportation directors, curriculum directors) will all have to be re-shuffled. So an already top heavy corporation (GCCS) will have to make room for the other upper level management employees. These people will be retained in some capacity, therefore adding expense instead of streamlining. If you recall, JCPS hired an independent consulting firm to evaluate their administration building. They found colossal waste. A district its size should have had around 50 directors and they had something like 120 of them. You had people reporting to several different directors causing inefficiencies, but yet there were people who reported to no one. This mega Clark Consolidated district would end up no better. West Clark has the lowest wages in the county, they would have to be paid significantly more adding more expense to the new district. All wages would have to be inline with GCCS which pays more than NAFCS, CCSC, WCCS. Again more expense. I just don't see the vast savings that the pro-consolidation camp is touting. 


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#9 Donna

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Posted 13 May 2015 - 10:38 PM

Bigger is not better, whether you're talking schools or school districts.  GCCS has not been giving due vigilance to their current budget.  The cronyism and nepotism is rampant.  Why would the communities of Clarksville or West Clark want to cede control of educating their children to that debacle? 



#10 GrumpyGranny

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 04:50 AM

My only experience with transferring a child from the elementary school in the district we lived in to a school in another district was years ago and was not easy. First, it was the principal's decision on whether I, the parent, could move my son to another school. He was a big part of my problem at the district school, and of course he said NO. So I called the superintendent of elementary education, explained I wanted to move my son to another school. He talked with the principal, called me back and said NO. School was going to be starting in a couple of days, so I told him he might as well go ahead and have me arrested because my son was not going back to the same school.

 

Long story shortened a bit...I had a good friend who just happened to be related to this super. I poured out my reasons for wanting the transfer to the relative; he called the super...and my son was transferred! He started attending Maple and we loved it! The principal, teachers and other staff had a totally different mindset than the original school, and it was great! 

 

So, even way back then, it was who you know...

 

And NO, Maple and the other neighborhood schools should NOT be closed!


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#11 Bulldog0605

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 08:13 AM

My children attend Clarksville Schools and I can tell that without a doubt that I want nothing to do with GCC or West Clark.  I am not sure where the low enrollement of CCS comes from, but they are not begging for kids, and honeslty I am happy with the classroom sizes.  As a former CPS worker who has been inside every school in Clark County and delt with all the office staff from these schools, that combinding them is not a good idea for the schools or the kids.

 

Clark County is so large that the school model the new corporation would use would not work: as the needs of the kids and families are not the same in all areas. If you combind them someone is going to be left behind and most of the time it is the smaller schools. The needs of a inter city Jeff kid and a rural New Wash kid are not even close. But the policy will all be the same for every school.

 

If you have to combind them then seperate Jeffersonville Schools and then combind all the rural communities, like Borden, Charleston and New Washington. Then you have the larger city meeting the city needs and the county schools meeting the needs of rural schools and children.


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#12 Tina

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 12:48 PM

My only experience with transferring a child from the elementary school in the district we lived in to a school in another district was years ago and was not easy. First, it was the principal's decision on whether I, the parent, could move my son to another school. He was a big part of my problem at the district school, and of course he said NO. So I called the superintendent of elementary education, explained I wanted to move my son to another school. He talked with the principal, called me back and said NO. School was going to be starting in a couple of days, so I told him he might as well go ahead and have me arrested because my son was not going back to the same school.

 

Long story shortened a bit...I had a good friend who just happened to be related to this super. I poured out my reasons for wanting the transfer to the relative; he called the super...and my son was transferred! He started attending Maple and we loved it! The principal, teachers and other staff had a totally different mindset than the original school, and it was great! 

 

So, even way back then, it was who you know...

 

And NO, Maple and the other neighborhood schools should NOT be closed!

 

The state legislature changed the law in 2011. Parents can send their children to any school district they choose. Now the only discretion seems to be if the school they want has room for them!   They also have to be responsible for their child's transportation.  (ie, if you want/need your children to ride the bus, you go to the school for your neighborhood.)

 

The difficulty now is only when a parent wants to exercise choice INSIDE the same school district (per my examples above).   

 

Which is why I say no consolidation.  All it will do is take away any choice and eliminate competition.  


Edited by Tina, 14 May 2015 - 12:51 PM.

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#13 Donna

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 10:23 PM

I agree with most of what you say, Bulldog0605, but West Clark is a very fine school.   It's just over-crowded with those out of district students like mine . . .  

 

I worked next door to GRC (George Rogers Clark)  Elementary School for their last 18 years.  Great staff from the principal to the teachers and, even the lunch ladies (a treasured friend of mine)  Kids walked/biked to school.  This small, neighborhood school produced so many success stories, and, yet, it closed.  

 

I am now in my 20th year (2 years after the closing debacle)  and the devastation of families within this small community is astounding.    A lot of families with young children moved out.  There has been an influx of more mobile (transient) residents with little incentive to continue the community appear.  This is what I saw happen.  


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#14 Bulldog0605

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Posted 15 May 2015 - 07:17 AM

I agree with most of what you say, Bulldog0605, but West Clark is a very fine school.   It's just over-crowded with those out of district students like mine . . .  

 

I worked next door to GRC (George Rogers Clark)  Elementary School for their last 18 years.  Great staff from the principal to the teachers and, even the lunch ladies (a treasured friend of mine)  Kids walked/biked to school.  This small, neighborhood school produced so many success stories, and, yet, it closed.  

 

I am now in my 20th year (2 years after the closing debacle)  and the devastation of families within this small community is astounding.    A lot of families with young children moved out.  There has been an influx of more mobile (transient) residents with little incentive to continue the community appear.  This is what I saw happen.  

 

I would be just be worried that the school corperation would turn into Jeff and the other schools.... Thats why I like Jeff, Clarksville seperate... and the rural schools together..


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#15 Sweet Pea

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Posted 16 May 2015 - 01:11 PM

In GCCS, can parents that live in the boundaries of Parkwood send their children to Utica? Can parents choose either River valley OR Parkview?
Because in West Clark if your boundary is Henryville or Borden, that's where you go. They do not allow IN district choices. (Meaning, a parent in a subdivision that is in Henryville's boundaries cannot CHOOSE Silver Creek instead.). They want out of district money, they already have the money for someone in district. There is no monetary incentive to allow choice IN district.
Has consolidation of assessment from townships to all county saved money? Has getting rid of city court saved money? All it does is change locations.
Running for school board is one of the most ruthless things one can sign up for as it is! I cannot even imagine the courage it would take to run against the powerfully connected if we consolidated. The school boards already control the largest budgets. The vying for control of that substantial pot would bring out some of the most vile races we've ever seen. It's bad enough as is. One big district? In Clark? Ha! No thanks.


GCCS allows students to live in one school boundary, and attend another school as long as there is room and you provide transportation, requires approval from both principals. I would guess that it happens more in middle and high school than elementary.

I would hope that the Administration would take care of employee who may be displaced due to the closing of a school, but that in time reduce down thru resignation/retirements.

I don't believe one large district for the county, but I believe reducing to two with changes of what school are in what district would be benefical.

#16 Tina

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Posted 16 May 2015 - 10:04 PM

GCCS allows students to live in one school boundary, and attend another school as long as there is room and you provide transportation, requires approval from both principals. I would guess that it happens more in middle and high school than elementary.

 

 

But see, imo, this is another reason why consolidation cannot happen.  Right now one of the factors the principals must (at least in the back of their mind) consider is whether the parent will just send the child out of district if they do not approve the move.  Take away that competition close to home, and I'm willing to bet the # of students allowed to intra-district transfer would drop.



#17 Sweet Pea

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Posted 17 May 2015 - 02:57 PM

But see, imo, this is another reason why consolidation cannot happen.  Right now one of the factors the principals must (at least in the back of their mind) consider is whether the parent will just send the child out of district if they do not approve the move.  Take away that competition close to home, and I'm willing to bet the # of students allowed to intra-district transfer would drop.


Well, if a parent feels their child is better off at another school (due to any of the many reasons: opportunities in the arts, athletics, academics and even issues with other students/teachers) they will move their child, IMO consolidation will not change this.

#18 Avid Reader

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Posted 17 May 2015 - 05:12 PM

Well, if a parent feels their child is better off at another school (due to any of the many reasons: opportunities in the arts, athletics, academics and even issues with other students/teachers) they will move their child, IMO consolidation will not change this.

 

Yes and no. I am in the frame of mind that if you don't like the philosophical policies of the school district, you will move your child. If there is only one choice (corporation) in your geographical area, you will look outside the district to another district, a private or a charter school. If Clark County were to merge into on super district like JCPS, I believe you would see a growth in the parochial schools or charter schools. Just look at Louisville. It is one mega district, yet there are many flourishing private schools: Collegiate, Kentucky County Day, St. Francis, Trinity, St. X, etc. 

 

If a parent just doesn't like the size of the school or a particular teacher, then they may stick it out in that school or in the same district. I think it all boils down to the root of the problem.


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#19 Bulldog0605

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Posted 18 May 2015 - 08:47 AM

Yes and no. I am in the frame of mind that if you don't like the philosophical policies of the school district, you will move your child. If there is only one choice (corporation) in your geographical area, you will look outside the district to another district, a private or a charter school. If Clark County were to merge into on super district like JCPS, I believe you would see a growth in the parochial schools or charter schools. Just look at Louisville. It is one mega district, yet there are many flourishing private schools: Collegiate, Kentucky County Day, St. Francis, Trinity, St. X, etc. 

 

If a parent just doesn't like the size of the school or a particular teacher, then they may stick it out in that school or in the same district. I think it all boils down to the root of the problem.

 

Just a FYI, I sent my oldest step son to Trinty and the cost was 11,000 a year. I dont may people can afford to pay this...



#20 IntegrityMatters

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Posted 18 May 2015 - 11:21 AM

You are correct -- most of the parochial high schools in Louisville cost around $11,000.   The private schools like Collegiate and KCD are much more.

 

That is why so many parents in the GCCS district choose Rock Creek -- a charter school in Sellersburg where there is no tuition.  Charter schools are public schools but they receive no funding whatsoever from property taxes.  Other parents choose to send their children to Silver Creek or NA/FC.   There is also Christian Academy in New Albany but it's tuition is about $5000 to $6000.  It does accept vouchers which can offset a large portion of that cost for qualifying families.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: education, economic developement, planning, policy, elected officals, clarksville, jeffersonville, charlestown, sellersburg, new washington

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