Glass half full time at Maine Dept. of Education
Lots of lipstick being applied to the school district reorganization pig this week. The Department of Education, always looking on the bright side, reported this week that “half of all Maine students go to a district with an approved reorganization plan.” According to the Kennebec Journal’s reporting, “the department has approved six reorganization plans and 39 alternative plans.”
Sounds like things are going well!
What is left unsaid, though, is that none of the 39 “alternative” plans consolidated anything. Under the law, districts already larger than 2500 pupils, which would be all of the state’s largest school districts, were allowed to avoid consolidation altogether.
What of the six approved plans that actually consolidate districts? Well, the state’s website seems only to list five. One of them, in Bath, predates the reorganization law, but that does not stop the state from taking credit for it. The SAD 53/SAD 59 plan was defeated by voters in Madison. A July 3 report in the Forecaster suggested that Falmouth was getting cold feet over its approved plan and sought to pull out of it, which does not bode well for voter approval this fall.
That leaves the SAD 16/Monmouth/Dresden plan, with 2450 kids, and the Sabattus/Wales/Litchfield/Oak Hill CSD plan, with 1600 kids, as the only two consolidation plans that have been approved by both the commissioner and the voters of the districts involved.
4050 kids out of 200,000? Little less than “half of Maine students” being in consolidated districts, I would say…