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Reorganized School Districts Open for Business
26 new Regional School Units are now in operation
July 15, 2009
CORRECTION: The release below is a corrected version and reflects that 25 reorganized units began operations on July 1. One additional reorganized unit, RSU #1, based in Bath, had already begun operations on July 1, 2008.
AUGUSTA – Twenty-six reorganized school districts are now in operation – 25 that began operations July 1 as part of the statewide school district reorganization effort, and Regional School Unit #1 in the Bath area, which began operations a year ago. The 26 units account for more than 55,000 students – almost 30 percent of the students in the state – and were previously 98 separate units. In addition, 42 school systems with over 100,000 students also met the requirements of the law, primarily because of their size or geographic isolation and were not required to merge.
The average enrollment in the 26 reorganized units is 2,133 students, though the size and structure for each varies significantly. The smallest is in Aroostook County with 1,047 students and the largest includes Saco, Dayton and Old Orchard Beach in York County, with 4,097 students. Five of the new districts are “Alternative Organizational Structures,” or AOSs, meaning that the former units making up the new district retain their own school boards and some local autonomy, though the majority of functions are now administered by the overall district board.
Twenty of the new districts have begun an educational planning process to create a unified culture of high expectations for student learning. The Maine Department of Education is paying for that process, which looks different in each reorganization and is based on the needs and requests of each new Regional School Unit (RSU). The process, headed by Mary Jane McCalmon, a former superintendent of Portland schools, is designed to assist newly reorganized units assess their separate and combined strengths and weaknesses, align their curricula, and build on the best of each of the former school districts for the best results for students.
One hundred and twenty-seven school systems with 15 percent of the students in the state are still working to conform to the requirements of the law. LD 285, passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, gives a one-year delay in penalties to these districts to allow them time to reorganize, as requested. In total, 85 percent of the students in the state are enrolled in school systems that meet the requirements of the reorganization law.
For a listing of reorganized school units, go to http://www.maine.gov/education/reorg and click on Implementation Status.
David Connerty-Marin | Director of Communications | Maine Department of Education | 207-624-6880
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