Pa. committee to study consolidation of school districts

HARRISBURG, Pa. - When it comes to the future of public education in Pennsylvania, some state lawmakers have some studying ahead of them.

Specifically, the bipartisan group of senators plans to look at possibly consolidating the state's 500 school districts.

"With 500 school districts in Pennsylvania this issue must be reviewed carefully," said Sen. David Argall, a Republican who represents Berks and Schuylkill counties and chairs the majority committee. "Senator [Lisa] Boscola and I are hosting this bipartisan workshop to consider the benefits and disadvantages of school district consolidation."

The Senate Majority Policy Committee and the Senate Democrat Policy Committee announced Wednesday that they will convene a public workshop discussion next Monday.

"Our goal for the workshop is to listen to stakeholders from across Pennsylvania about the potential impacts both good and bad resulting from school district consolidation," said Boscola, a Democrat who represents Lehigh and Northampton counties and chairs the Democratic committee. "Any proposal that would potentially keep taxpayer dollars in the pockets of citizens and improve our public education system is worth studying."

The current number of school districts in Pennsylvania is down from more than 2,200 in the 1960s, but Argall said he thinks that number can still be smaller.

"In Maryland, each of that state's 23 counties and the city of Baltimore only has one school district," Argall said. "Do we really need 500?"

The public workshop is scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m. in Room 461 of the main Capitol building in Harrisburg.

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