Times-Record Editorial: Time to Stop Consolidation Effort


Could it be that Maine’s newspapers are beginning to turn against the school district consolidation effort? The Brunswick Times Record published the following editorial on Wednesday, calling for a halt to the consolidation processes so that better alternatives can be developed.
Beyond repair
“Learn from your mistakes” works well in the classroom or on the athletic field, less so in government.
Maine’s ongoing experiment in school district consolidation proves that point. It’s a political compromise that compromises the quality of public education throughout the state.
The most sweeping school reform plan in Maine history derives from a shoddy compromise coerced from exhausted legislators at the tail end of this year’s session. Because Gov. John Baldacci folded his school consolidation proposal into the biennial state budget, lawmakers faced the choice of accepting it as part of the two-year spending plan or shutting down government.
Now, after they’ve had a chance to consider the school consolidation plan on its own merits, legislators are scurrying to correct the test they failed in June by proposing more than 70 amendments that aim to tweak the school reform components of LD 499, the full budget bill. But by failing to acknowledge the overarching flaw of LD 499 — it was devised to address political and financial problems, not educational needs — lawmakers are engaging in little more than busy work, the equivalent of writing “I will do as I am told” 500 times on the blackboard.
A more productive tact would be to place the whole process on hold.

Read the full editorial on the Times Record Webpage.