Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Friday, January 12, 2007

Maine Governor Urges Mass School Consolidation

Maine governor urges mass consolidation of school districts, many rural

-- editor's note... this post is from our friends at the Rural Blog at the University of Kentucky and the link under the title will take you directly there, the story was also reported in Education Week prior to the Rural Blog... john

Maine Gov. John E. Baldacci wants to "eliminate hundreds of locally elected school boards and scores of superintendents and replace them with 26 regional boards and schools chiefs," Education Week recently reported. "Maine has 195,000 students and 290 school districts, each with an elected school board. Many are in rural parts of the state and enroll a small number of students. In many cases, such districts have formed a “union” with neighboring districts to share a superintendent and central-office administration."

State Education Commissioner Susan Gendron told Education Week reporter Lesli Maxwell, “By having only 26 districts rather than 290, we could meet on a monthly basis with all the superintendents and with all the curriculum coordinators to talk about our standards and best practices, and to get agreement on what our academic outcomes need to be.”

The regional sboards would have between five and 15 elected members. "The regions would follow the same boundaries used now to govern Maine’s vocational education program. The regional districts would vary in size from 1,800 students to nearly 20,000," Maxwell writes.

Kim Bryant Bedard, president of the Maine School Boards Association, told Education Week, “These regions don’t make any sense. Some of us could be driving an hour just to be able to see the superintendent.”

Maxwell also notes: "In New Jersey, lawmakers are debating a similar consolidation plan on a pilot basis. Rural Gloucester County, which has 10 districts, is seen as a likely candidate for the program, said state Sen. Bob Smith, a Democrat who is sponsoring the measure." (Read more)

Thoughts? Concerns? Post a comment here or contact John Crabtree,

Center for Rural Affairs
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  • At 11:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    seriously, is there any state where they are NOT trying to do this?

    what does everyone have against rural schools anyway?

  • At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    To Kim Bryant Bedard, President of the Maine School Boards Association - this sounds pretty typical of someone who wants to support a local bureaucracy that we no longer need. It's the 21st century Kim; try the phone or the internet. Businesses across America and around the world do it all the time. We are supposed to be preparing our kids for the real world. It's time we start practicing what we teach.
    Eric from Clifton,ME


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