Does anyone listen to a word I say?

Does anyone listen to a word I say?

March 31, 2009 Posted by Maine Heritage Policy Center - No Comments

The great Matt Stone, education reporter for the Kennebec Journal, has a column in today’s paper describing broad-based support among school leaders for educational collaboratives.

“In recent years,” Stone writes, “a number of districts have joined forces to buy
supplies in bulk and share the costs of special education,
transportation and teacher training. Those districts have reaped
the benefits in savings and expanded education opportunities, school
officials told members of the Education Committee.”

Wait, didn’t I say exactly the same thing TWO YEARS AGO?

In fact, I did.  When the governor first proposed his consolidation scheme in early 2007, we responded with a research piece describing what we thought to be a better alternative, Education Service Districts.  These regional cooperatives allow districts to cut costs by sharing purchasing, back-office operations, and all manner of products and services, while allowing districts some level of autonomy. 

From yesterday’s article: “Since efficiencies can be achieved by sharing services without
changing governance, regional education cooperatives should be embraced
as another consolidation alternative,” [School Union 102 Superintendent Scott] Porter said.

Funny, I said the same thing in 2007.

We followed up that piece with a report on the Western Maine Educational Collaborative, one of the highly successful collaboratives mentioned in Education Committee hearings on Monday:

“The 11 school districts that belong to the Western Maine Education
Collaborative share teachers of classes that typically attract few
students, said Thomas Ward, superintendent of Dixfield-based SAD 21 and
president of that cooperative. The districts have saved money while offering academic programs they would not have been able to afford on their own, he said”.

Like Yogi Berra said, its like deja vu all over again.

HELLO??? Is thing on?

Is anyone listening to us??