Sutherland Newsletter – August 2, 2007

1….Or Get Rid of the Middle Man Altogether?

The Utah State Constitution specifies that the State Legislature and then a State Board of Education is responsible for the creation, maintenance, and administration of Utah’s public schools.  Everyone understands why we have neighborhood schools, local school boards, principals, and teachers.  But why do we need school districts?  Four years ago, the Sutherland Institute wrote concerning school districts, “abolish district structures.” The rationale?

“Re-establishing control of government education at the [individual] school level will solve many of the concerns people have today…It will restore accountability to schools by requiring communities to monitor their performance, improving educational quality and safety.  It will renew the interest of parents in the school life of their children and communities, as they have a more direct voice in the decisions of the school than they did via district school boards…It will save money and untold political and administrative energy that currently flows into bureaucracies instead of the schools.”

[To read the full report, click here]

2.To Split or Not to Split…

On December 23, 2003 the Utah County Commission appointed an Ad Hoc Advisory Committee to study the merits of creating a new Pioneer School District out of the existing Alpine School District.  Appointed as its chairman was Gaylord Swim, Sutherland Institute founder and board chairman at that time.  A staunch proponent of decentralized public schools and smaller school districts, Chairman Swim voted against splitting the Alpine School District.  His explanation for his vote is as relevant today as it was then.

[To read his comments click here]