Offer More Options and Choices.

Increase diversity, flexibility and autonomy in school districts to maximize resources, and better address the needs and interests of all students.

Efficient state mandates must be coordinated with local school district governance in order to close the gap between idealistic goals for education and the reality of schooling—and affect long-lasting educational change. Going forward, school districts should have the flexibility to organize to take advantage of economies of scale and allocate the majority of resources so they can deliver high-quality services to students as cost-efficiently as possible.

Review existing school districts based on: 1) the capacity to provide different options for children to meet educational standards; 2) economic, social and geographic factors.

Why This Recommendation Is Important

Local school boards are not being utilized to their fullest extent in the current system, due to the influence of local politics and a lack of alignment between local and state governing structures. In addition, the present division of local school districts into 165 separate entities with some regional arrangements is economically inefficient and fosters economic, racial and ethnic isolation.

Actions Needed

  • Make local school boards directly accountable both to the people who live in those districts and to the Commissioner of Education.
  • Create districts with sufficient authority and flexibility to implement programs and strategies designed tomeet state student learning mandates.
  • Allow students and their parents to choose from a menu of options, including magnet schools, charter schools and vocational-technical schools as well as different schedules and curriculums, all within the jurisdiction of the local district.
  • Structure school districts so that they’re fiscally independent and allow districts to adopt multiyear budgets.