With a record number of school districts sinking into a deficit, and two districts possibly on their way to being dissolved, state Superintendent Mike Flanagan is urging drastic action — such as converting Michigan’s nearly 550 districts, 56 intermediate districts and nearly 280 charter schools into countywide school districts.
If that can’t be done right away, he said, the state should give more power to intermediate school districts so operations such as transportation and food services can be consolidated.
Flanagan predicted that countywide districts or his hybrid option could save millions — money he said could be used to teach students. But little, if any, research supports his position, a fact that’s drawing concern from educators and others.
Don Wotruba, deputy director of the Michigan Association of School Boards, said his organization is open to discussing the idea. But, he said, a one-size-fits-all mandate isn’t the way to go.