A summer of planning for school administrators


PORTLAND (AP) – Local education officials are spending the summer coming to grips with a sweeping state-ordered school system consolidation plan designed to reduce 152 school administrative systems to 80. Upcoming as part of a series of deadlines is an Aug. 31 requirement for notifying the state of merger plans.

Final organization plans are due by Dec. 1, and by Jan. 15, 2008, cities and towns would be expected to vote on whether to approve mergers. There savings will beachieved,” said Eileen King, superintendent for School Union 49, which includes the towns of Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Edgecomb and Southport.

At the same time, there are signs of enthusiasm.

Bath and School Union 47, which includes the towns of Arrowsic, Georgetown, Phippsburg, Woolwich and West Bath, were talking about a merger before the new law and have become the first school districts to file their notice of intent with the state.

Falmouth and School Administrative District 51, which includes Cumberland and North Yarmouth, were the first to file for a financial analysis by the education department, which will set out the financial implications of a merger.

The state is promoting a suggested merger date of July 1, 2008, but districts may take two years as allowed under the law and not merge until July 1, 2009.

New districts will be expected to have at least 2,500 students, or no fewer than 1,200 students when geography and other factors make larger districts impractical.