Small S.D. Schools Connect To Survive

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dennis Goodwin’s pitch to small towns goes something like this: You can keep your schools and sports teams, expand course offerings for students and pay teachers more, and you can do it all without raising taxes.

Now in his first year as Platte-Geddes superintendent, Goodwin doesn’t think his school district needs its own superintendent — or its own high school language arts or physics teacher, for that matter. What Platte-Geddes and other small school districts should be doing, he says, is a lot more sharing.

A former business owner turned educator, Goodwin has asked several nearby towns to join Platte-Geddes in creating a sleeker model for K-12 education that provides more opportunities for students at less cost and without the pain of traditional school consolidation.

His “integrated schools” model calls for fewer teachers and administrators and larger class sizes, made possible by uniform schedules and interactive classroom technology that links students and teachers in different towns. Over time, a group of five school districts led by a single superintendent should be able to reduce their teaching staff by at least 30 percent, he said, while paying higher salaries to the teachers who stay.

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