School & District Management

Feuding Continues Over Maine Efforts to Merge Districts

By Lesli A. Maxwell — April 15, 2008 1 min read

A battle under way in the Maine legislature could undermine the hard-won victory last year—led by Democratic Gov. John E. Baldacci—to consolidate the state’s hundreds of school districts and local school boards.

Gov. Baldacci last week vetoed a bill that would have allowed the formation of regional school unions—entities that would share a superintendent and a central-office administration, but could otherwise maintain separate budgets, school boards, and curricula. Such unions had been eliminated by the consolidation law enacted last year.

But as of press time, the final outcome remained up in the air.

The Senate had sustained the governor’s veto, effectively killing the measure. But members of the House of Representatives later approved a bill that would repeal the consolidation law entirely, and another that contains “relatively noncontroversial fixes” to the law, according to Travis Kennedy, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat.

See Also

See other stories on education issues in Maine. See data on Maine’s public school system.

Lawmakers were expected to keep wrangling over the issue for several days, with the current session set to conclude April 16, Mr. Kennedy said.

Gov. Baldacci has introduced a separate measure to address some “financial flaws” in the original consolidation law, said David Connerty-Marin, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Education.

Gov. Baldacci and Susan A. Gendron, the state education commissioner, oppose the union governance structure as costly and impractical, said Mr. Connerty-Marin.

Though dozens of districts are moving to form larger governance entities, the legislative fight has halted progress in recent weeks.

The law approved last June would shrink the number of school districts to 80 from 290 through mergers and consolidations. Some educators have questioned the projected savings of tens of millions of dollars. (“Maine Moving Ahead on School Consolidation Plan,” June 20, 2007.)

Some 195,000 students are enrolled in the state’s public schools.

Last fall, more than 60 bills were introduced to revise, rewrite, or repeal the consolidation law.

A version of this article appeared in the April 16, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Addressing Learning Loss: What Schools Need to Accelerate Reading Instruction in K-3
When K-3 students return to classrooms this fall, there will be huge gaps in foundational reading skills. Does your school or district need a plan to address learning loss and accelerate student growth? In this
Content provided by PDX Reading
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Advance Educational Equity
Schools are welcoming students back into buildings for full-time in-person instruction in a few short weeks and now is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and systems to build
Content provided by PowerMyLearning
Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion COVID-19 Ripped Through Our Emotional Safety Net. Here’s How My District Responded
Three years after overhauling its approach to student mental health, one California district found itself facing a new crisis.
Jonathan Cooper
2 min read
A young man stands under a street light on a lonely road.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images
School & District Management Opinion Students Need Better Connections. To Wi-Fi, Yes, But Also to Teachers
We have to fix our digital divide, but let’s not lose sight of the relationship divide, writes one superintendent.
Susan Enfield
2 min read
A teacher checks in on a remote student.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images
School & District Management Opinion Superintendents Have Weathered a Lot of Vitriol This Year. What Have We Learned?
The pandemic turned district leaders into pioneers, writes one superintendent. We had to band together to make it through.
Matthew Montgomery
2 min read
A person walks from a vast empty space towards a team of people.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images
School & District Management Opinion Critics Complain My District Doesn’t Really Need Relief Aid. If They Only Knew…
District expenditures have ballooned in the pandemic, but many critics expect the opposite. How can leaders set the record straight?
Theresa Rouse
2 min read
A business person convinces colleagues by presenting a plan.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images