R.I.P., HB 2504

One item of good news coming out of Topeka this weekend is the ?death? of House Bill 2504?at least for the current session. May it rest in peace eternally.

House Education Chair?man Ron Highland, R-Wamego, said his committee will not consider further action on the bill that would reduce the number of school districts in Kansas to 132 from 286. The bill did not advocate closing school buildings, but would have consolidated rural school districts into one district for most rural counties, including Marion County.

Most observers agree that the bill, intended to reduce funding for education, would have had limited impact anyway?perhaps a 2.4 percent reduction when the number of boards of education, superintendents and district office administration are reduced.

Most education observers say significant spending reductions occur only when school buildings are closed?the great and justifiable fear of rural communities around the state. When their local schools close, communities diminish and some die. HB 2504 is penny-wise but dollar foolish. Bury it, but good. ?DR