The State of School Districts

There are 723 school districts in the State of Ohio consisting of 190 City districts, 60 Educational Service Center districts, 373 Local districts, 1 Municipal district, 49 Exempted Village districts, and 49 Joint Vocational districts. Ohio also permits Joint High School districts but at the present time there are none of these in Ohio.

Do you know how many school districts there are in the State of Hawai’i?


That’s right, ONE — a single, statewide district with 285 schools (9/05) on seven islands.

Maybe Ohio could learn something from Hawai’i.

Read and learn about Hawaii’s Public Schools.


About Roland Louis Hansen

I have been: an organization development consultant; a college-level instructor of political science, psychology, and sociology; a public administrator; a social worker; an elected official; a political operative; a community activist; a union official; a shoe salesman and manager, a factory worker; a fast food restaurant employee; and, a custodian.
This entry was posted in Commentary, Education, Government, Hawaii, Management, Musing, Politics, Public Policy, Websites. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to The State of School Districts

  1. Lisa Renee says:

    That is interesting, do you think that would work in Ohio with the larger number of schools?


  2. Roland says:

    Absolutely, it would work in Ohio. But first, people need to get over the feudal turf protection system mindset. Ohio could go to a state-wide school system that would be administered at the county level with the county administrative superintendent paid a salary based on the county size as we do with other county officials. We would save money just on the economy of scale issue. Think how much money could be saved on text book purchases and educational supplies alone if all were bought on a state-wide basis rather than by 723 separate entities. Think about how much money could be saved by having one school system with one administrative entity and one overall administrative cost versus 723 school treasurers, and 723 school finance offices, and 723 purchasing offices, and 723 human resources offices, and 723 transportation departments, and 723 food services departments, and 723 curriculum committees, and 723 —– well, I think that’s enough to give a picture.


  3. Lisa Renee says:

    Hopefully you don’t mind but I’m hoping by pointing this out over on Glass City that maybe we can get some discussion going on the topic.



  4. Roland says:

    Not a problem, LisaRenee, go right ahead. The whole topic of Ohio’s public school system needs attention. I’ve tried for many years to focus attention on the topic, beginning in 1978 when I was the endorsed Democratic Party candidate for the Ohio Senate from District 1.
    I continued my advocacy of educational system reform in Ohio afterwards when I served 12 years (3 terms) as an elected member of the Lucas County Board of Education, now known as the Lucas County Educational Service Governing Board. Then, I continued to continue the quest as my wife, Judy, was then elected to the seat I vacated on that body and on which she still serves having been elected three times and currently is in her tenth year.
    Most recently, I was very dismayed by the lack of the traditional print media (read that as newspapers) coverage on the topic when I hammered away at it as a candidate in the 2006 State Board of Education election.
    I mention some of my past involvements, not as a political quest for any more elective office (Lord knows I do not need any more of that), but to point out that my involvement and my interest in public education is more than just cursory.


  5. Jill says:

    To be fair, however, Hawaii has only 181,000 students. Ohio has more than 1.7 million. Hawaii’s education budget is $2.2 billion. Ohio’s education budget for primary and secondary was recommended to be $7.1 billion for FY07 (see here). So – actually – either Ohio is dramatically underfunded to Hawaii is incredibly wealthy.

    I found the HI info here.


  6. Roland says:

    How many people are aware that the State of Florida has 68 school districts?
    Yes, that’s right, just 68 districts. That may be 67 more school districts than the State of Hawaii, but it is 655 less school districts than there are in the State of Ohio. Did you also know that Florida Public Schools are structured on a county-wide school district system?


  7. Jill says:

    Okay. I’m fried this evening – what are you getting at? Things could be structured differently? How’s FL working out for Floridian kids? I don’t actually know. My point was only to respectfully indicate that when making comparisons, we should take note of how the entities are the same, and different. That was all. 🙂


  8. Jill, I am only trying to point out that there are a variety of school systems because each state has its own system of public education. Just because a state is different by geographical size, population, demographics, etc. does not mean we can not learn something from them. The same concept applies to cities, e.g. a city like Toledo could learn from other cities of various sizes from across the United States. It also applies to State governments. Each state may learn something from other states.
    I do believe that Ohio’s public school system is much too cumbersome, splintered, inequitable, and not cost-effective let alone not cost-efficient. We no longer live in the agricultural society under which Ohio’s educational system sprung forth. Our school system seems to remain fixated in an archaic, obsolete mindset. We live in a highly mobile society in a technological age. We have hundreds of school systems falling all over one another duplicating efforts with limited resources that could more effectively deliver services in a coordinated effort. Instead, we have turf protection strategies with an end result that stifles the education of our children. With a state-wide, county administered system we could practice economy of scale, families would have wider choice of schools, movement within the state would not be disruptive to the student, etc.
    It does not help any that we have had a General Assembly that has continued to ignore the DeRolph decision of the Ohio Supreme court in which the state educational funding system has been ruled in violation of the Ohio Constitution. Note: it is the method of funding that has been ruled in violation, NOT the amount of funding as some would have us believe. Furthermore, public education is the responsibility of the State of Ohio per the Ohio Constitution. Ohio’s General Assembly needs to accept that responsibility and authority and quit pawning it off to “local” school districts of various sizes and disparate local economies.


  9. Jill says:

    Thanks, Roland – I agree with much of what you say – especially learning from looking at other systems. The only thing I would want to add is that, my experience of being in Ohio for 18 years, though not growing up here, has been that the differences – regional in origin perhaps? – persist among Ohioans. Our legislature and who we elect and patterns in the elections seem to indicate dramatic and persistent distinctions between what Ohioans want and value, or at least the preferred methods for attaining the values.

    What ideas do you have for how to have the best of both worlds: collapsing the system enough to eliminate duplication without losing the choice necessary to honor community preferences?


  10. Jill,
    In a nutshell:
    State-wide system, county administered, site-based management, citizen advisory committees.


  11. Jill says:

    See – that would be a problem for me, living in Cuyahoga which is vast demographically as well as geographically. What would site-based administration be like – would it report to and answer to the county administration, or would it have authority to address the needs of the community it serves without going to the next level up every time?

    Again – given the size and disparities in desires and needs throughout the state, help convince as to how and why that idea would work.

    Sounds interesting – but unnerving. What would you say to convince people to go calmly into the unknown (to Ohioans at least)?


  12. Hooda Thunkit of Hooda Thunkit’s Therapy Blog wrote:

    Now how can anyone in good conscience advocate one school system for Ohio.

    1. It’s logical

    2. It makes sense

    3 It would save gobs of money, implemented correctly.

    Those 3-strikes are all clearly against doing the right thing…

    I read Hooda’s astute comments over at Glass City Jungle.


  13. Hey!

    I was going to say that!

    Oh, I DID say it!

    Thanks for beating me to it Roland 😉

    (Still catching up)



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