Most consolidation plans panned in Tuesday voting

Most consolidation plans panned in Tuesday voting

January 28, 2009 Posted by Steve Bowen - No Comments

According to MDIschools.net, the state’s best resource for school district consolidation news, of the 18 school consolidation plans that went before voters yesterday, eleven were defeated.  It will surprise almost nobody that the districts in question were almost entirely in the rural northern and eastern parts of the state, areas which have resisted consolidation efforts from the start.

The news for school choice was good.  Choice, where it is practiced now, is preserved in all of the consolidation plans that passed.  A consolidation plan for Hermon and MSAD 23, which would have ended school choice in MSAD 23, was soundly defeated by voters there last week.

So, the next move is the state’s.  Presumably it will impose penalties on non-conforming districts, and it remains to be seen what the political ramifications of doing so will be.  Because most districts were either exempt from the law or have complied in some way, there will likely be little support in the legislature for lifting the penalties, which leaves the two sides at an impasse – voters won’t approve consolidation plans, the state will likely continue to insist that they do.

Now what?