School administrative unit forced consolidation as proposed by the governor should be unacceptable to Maine’s citizens. The much-touted enhanced local control via “advisory committees” will have no meaningful impact on budgets or programs. Those decisions will be made by the mega-board working with the superintendent.

If the full amount of local tax savings projected by the governor – about $105 million – were to be realized, it would equate to roughly $2.60 a month over three years for each of Maine’s 1.3 million citizens.

Of course that savings will be reduced by the savings to be realized by corporations, and non-Maine resident property taxpayers. So how much of the $2.60 will you and I really see? I’d bet, only pennies. Is that all local control and local schools are worth?

The Education Committee has given their recommendation to the Appropriations Committee, which welcomed it like New Orleans will welcome the next hurricane.

I don’t agree with all that the Education Committee recommended, but it is a far cry better than the governor’s plan for the demise of local schools or other somewhat similar proposals supported by members of the Appropriations Committee. I strongly urge state legislators to support the Education Committee in this issue. Then work with them in crafting a plan to encourage collaboration and consolidation (only for those towns which want to consolidate) and remove legislation that prevents many forms of cost savings.

Let’s continue to provide local quality education today and tomorrow.

Robert English, Wales


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