The efforts in Augusta to consolidate school districts in order to reduce taxes and funnel additional resources to the classroms of Maine should be supported. A special subcommittee of the Appropriations committee produced a carefully construced report that deserves a positive vote by the Legislature. It would reduce the number of districts to a maximum of 80, with a target size of at least 2,500 students in each new district.

The savings would be in excess of $36 million – real money in Maine.

Counter-proposals have come forward that would set the number at 1,200 for the majority of the state (2,500 for Androscoggin, Cumberland and York counties) and allow individual towns to opt out of the new configurations with the promise of some yet-to-be-identified penalty. This alternative is advanced to address the concerns of the rural caucus and their special interests. It is the wrong step at this time.

We need to move forward with a required reorganization, and we should stick to the 2,500-pupil target. That will guarantee the necessary savings and allow state officials to concentrate on the classrooms across the state with available resources.

Let’s stand up for the children this time and not bow to the special interests that want to retain positions and authority. This is about kid power for the future, not adult power for the present.

James Carignan, Harpswell


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