Rodriguez thinks smaller districts would make it easier to track how tax dollars are spent and be easier to manage.
"Managing a district is one thing but producing student outcomes is another," counters Hussen. "And it's just not true that having more local control has made a difference. It's more about what you do with the kids in the classroom every single day."
Hussen points to Ontario, Canada, where the whole province is one school district with 5,000 schools. That's more than ten times the size of CCSD.
"And between the years of 2002 to now they have made amazing progress," Hussen said.
Studies across the U.S. show achievement comes from the opportunity to learn, which is fostered by quality teachers and program offerings.
Hussen says since 90 percent of all money in schools is spent on personnel, we should be focused on good old fashioned on-the-job training, "So that teachers can learn within the building that they actually work in."
He adds, "Good schools that do it right provide opportunities for those younger, less experienced teachers to learn from the older or more experienced teachers and they do it on a regular basis."
District Insider Elena Rodriguez agrees with that, but says it should be done in the context of smaller districts.
"It's just like a huge corporation. The bigger the corporation, the more difficult it is to see who's doing what."
The California data shows size doesn't matter in districts that allow schools to have creative control over classroom content, resources and teacher training.
More data from other studies:
A Brookings Institution study using 10 years of data showed districts account for only a small share (1 to 2%) of the total variation in student achievement.
If district-level decisions limit local school autonomy, the heterogeneous needs of pupils in large districts will not be met.
Fiscal controls at the district level may discourage or constrain innovation in program choice and resource use.
In large districts, communication and coordination problems are likely to reduce accountability. It will be relatively difficult for parents to make their concerns known. This top-down structure may have a negative impact on academic achievement.
Alternatively, there may be advantages of size. A centralized administration may allow large districts to spend relatively greater amounts of money on classroom instruction. If this is true, district size will be associated with relatively higher levels of academic achievement.