Education Merger Cold Feet

School district officials — elected and appointed — who have cold feet about considering merging with neighboring districts might consider the discussion taking place in Maryland. The State Legislature is considering merging the University of Maryland with the University of Baltimore. The reasons are the same ones that should propel school districts mergers in New York state — the ability to offer students more choices, cost savings by eliminating inefficient use of capital equipment — from buses to copy machines, better use of personnel and the ability to devote resources to education which are now wasted on administration. The points of resistance are also the same — people who have a vested personal interest in their fiefdoms don’t want change. They try to rally others around the myth of their unique identity, claiming individuals will be lost in the larger institution. That could happen of course if the new administration isn’t conscious of the need to maintain open communications channels for all participants, but the time to recognize that consolidation is not just a good thing, but a necessary thing, is now.

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