Warren Local is in Washington County, which borders West Virginia and has a per capita income of just over $23,000, compared to $56,000 for teachers in an area where only 15 percent of residents have a bachelor's degree or higher, Lieszkovszky reports. With no doors or walls between classrooms, schools use bookshelves and lockers to separate classes. Still, locals think the school has enough money, and have continually voted down levies. As a result, two school buildings were closed, teacher wages were frozen, 90 positions were eliminated, and high-school busing has been cut.
Some blame consolidation for the rift between residents and the school districts, Lieszkovszky writes. In the 1960s smaller schools were combined to make larger ones, and some residents felt they lost their "a significant part of their social life and local identity." Since then, residents have continued to hold a grudge when property taxes are put on the ballot, she writes. (Read more)