UNIONTOWN (KDKA) — Consolidating school districts has been going on since the 1800’s, mostly rural.

About two-thirds of the states now have countywide school districts. In Fayette County, the debate is just beginning.

“Probably not a good idea,” says one student leaving Uniontown Area High School.

There are six school districts – Connellsville, Frazier, Brownsville Area, Laurel Highlands, Albert Gallatin and Uniontown Area.

Collectively there are more than 20,000 students and most aren’t crazy about consolidation.
Uniontown School Board Member, Paul Bortz isn’t convinced.

“With these different districts, some are doing better than others, in better condition than the others – I just don’t see how it’s going to work,” he said.

Retiring Uniontown Area School District Superintendent Dr. Charles Machesky isn’t completely sold either.

“If a credible amount of savings can be indicated, I’d say that would be very interesting,” he said. “However, there’s going to be loss of identity.”

“We duplicate services like transportation, utilities, I mean, there’s just so much we can save,” State Rep. Tim Mahoney, D -South Union Township, said.

He is the man behind the proposal that would have a single school board, a single administration and one superintendent.

“Where we can save money and put the money that we save back into real education,” he argued.

Nothing can go forward until a $100,000 state grant pays for a study to look at each district financially and crunch the numbers.

State Rep. Mahoney hopes to have a referendum question on the ballot by November.

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