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More than half of all reorganization plans submitted
Gendron: 17 reorganization plans go to voters on Nov. 4; more plans coming in daily
October 16, 2008
AUGUSTA – Education Commissioner Susan A. Gendron told a legislative committee Thursday that school districts around the state are completing the planning work for school administrative reorganization on schedule and, in most cases, diligently and successfully. She said about half of all school units have already submitted a plan consistent with the requirements of the law, and most of the rest are on schedule to complete their plans in time for votes before the Jan. 30, 2009, deadline.
“Communities are making tremendous progress,” Gendron told the Appropriations Committee. She credited superintendents and planning committees – made up of school board, municipal, and townspeople – with investing thousands of hours to develop the best plans possible for their students. “It is because of them that I can tell you that I have approved 22 plans and have another four in hand ready to be appro ved pending some revisions,” she said. “Communities are working on another 17 plans and we are getting new submissions almost daily.”
Gendron said the best results are coming from communities that have put the educational opportunities first.
“One superintendent was quoted in the paper last week and I think he said it well – this is not about what’s best for me, it’s about what’s best for students,” Gendron said. “After the initial fear and anger, folks in most places have turned their attention to finding solutions that work for their students, and in most cases they have been very successful at that.”
Gendron distributed a summary showing the latest status of all the plans. She noted that plans are being submitted almost daily. The summary chart shows:
In addition, there are 34 alternative plans that have been approved by the Commissioner. These plans do not change the makeup of the districts involved and did not require voter approval, but did require a reorganization of functions to achieve savings. Seven school districts that must reorganize are currently in unapproved configurations and 11 island and Indian Education schools are exempt from the requirement to consolidate, but must file a plan showing reorganization of functions to provide savings without adversely affecting instructional programs.
The updated summary chart can be found online at: www.maine.gov/education/reorg. There were a total of 290 school districts before the law went into effect. The law calls for no more than 80 units.
The latest additions to the list of approved reorganization plans are: the Machias area, including school districts from Jonesboro to Cutler and inland to Wesley; and a proposed district including Ellsworth and most of what is currently Union 92 and Union 96. Residents in those two regions will likely vote in early December on their plans.
David Connerty-Marin, Director of Communications, 207-624-6880
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