News and comment archive: 2009

January | February | March | April

January 1, 2009

January 2, 2009

  • [Jonesport, Beals] Private School Idea Lofted at Moosabec School Board: Sentiment for an AOS Expressed, Nancy Beal, Downeast Coastal Press, Dec 30-Jan 5 (not on-line)
  • The red and green towns of Maine, Matthew Stone, The Report Card, Kennebec Journal
  • [View from New York] Making Sense of School Consolidation, Joseph Berger, New York Times

January 3

January 5

January 6, 2009

January 7, 2009

January 8, 2009

January 9, 2009

January 10, 2009

January 11, 2009

  • [Vassalboro, Waterville, Winslow] School board super majority sticking point for two towns, Scott Monroe, Kennebec Journal
      Waterville's clout could be a deal-breaker for voters on Tuesday
  • State penalty for nonpassage is severe, Scott Monroe, Kennebec Journal
      ...concedes that the savings of the proposal aren't great. School officials have calculated an additional cost of $50,000 the first year, then $125,000 in savings the next couple years. He says that state officials have overblown the possible savings.
  • Senator Collins Calls For Rural Education Funding,
      ...this may be of less of a magnificent gesture than intended. The only districts eligible were those with fewer than 600 students. Under Maine's consolidation law, districts now have to be twice this size.

January 12, 2009

January 13, 2009

  • State panel explores education problems, Matthew Stone, Kennebec Journal
      ...Maine's network of school districts has become unwieldy, Connerty-Marin said, and the percentage of school spending devoted to administrative expenses has risen in recent years.
      ...And Gray, the teachers' union director, called for higher pay for teachers, saying Maine is a "net exporter" of teachers.
  • [Farmington] SAD 9 gets OK to stand alone, Donna M. Perry, Sun Journal
  • Deadline looms for plans to consolidate, Rich Hewitt, Bangor Daily News
  • [East Range CSD #12, Calais, Alexander, Robbinston, Baring Plt., Crawford, Charlotte, Perry, Baileyville, Cooper, Grand Lake Stream Plt., Meddybemps, Eastport, Princeton, Talmadge, Waite, Pembroke, Dennysville, Vanceboro] Consolidation vote set for January 13, Eileen Curry, Quoddy Tides
  • Dover-Foxcroft officials back school reorganization, Diana Bowley, Bangor Daily News
      ...appears that Greenville officials ...plan to urge their residents to vote no
  • Rural schools risk loss of federal money, Matthew Stone, The Report Card, Kennebec Journal
      "I am concerned that an unintended consequence of consolidation will be that many Maine schools will no longer qualify for these grants," Collins said Monday.
  • Waterville, Winslow, Vassalboro approve school reorganization plan, Amy Calder, Morning Sentinel
  • Schools Face Cuts to General Purpose Aid, Will Tuell, Downeast Coastal Press
      “They've taken $27 million out,” said MacFadden, “and anytime they take that money out of the state budget, it puts it onto the towns. It has raised local commitment from 6.55 mils to 6.79. It's up over a quarter of a mil locally. Every time the state saves money, the towns pick it up, and that increases property taxes.”
  • Voters Turn Down RSU, AOS Next Step, WQDY
      Vanceboro 26-5 in favor
      Calais 249-23 against
      Baileyville 171-5 against
      Eastport 133-29 against
      Baring Plt -- 13-5 against
      Alexander -- 87-1 against
      Robbinston -- 65-4 against
      Crawford -- 12-1 against
      Cooper -- 26-2 against
      Grand Lake Stream -- 32-0 against
      Meddybemps -- 32-0 against
      Princeton -- 42-14 against
      Talmadge -- 8-2 against
      Waite -- 11-0 against
      Charlotte -- 45-9 against
      Pembroke -- 83-7 against
      Perry - 54-3 against
      Dennysville -- 39-2 against
      CSD 12 (Topsfield/Codyville) 22-20 against

January 14, 2009

January 15, 2009

  • Wells-Ogunquit, Acton agree to consolidate, Jim Kanak, York Weekly
      ...Members discussed whether filing the plan for the AOS would preclude WOCSD from seeking stand-alone status. They ultimately decided it would not.
  • Greenville panels urge defeat of schools plan, Diana Bowley, Bangor Daily News
      ...selectmen and school committee members are against the state’s reorganization mandate “because it is not supported by clear reasoning and accurate data,” they say.
  • [Farmington...] State OKs SAD 9 plan to stay the same, Valerie Tucker, Morning Sentinel
      ...The school district could choose a new name, Cormier said.
  • [Sanford / Many Flags] School models fight for state OK, Matthew Stone, Kennebec Journal
      ..."It isn't about us versus them," said Courtney, the Assistant Senate Minority Leader. "It's my hope that when all is said and done, both communities have this."
  • Policy group calls RSU 13 apportionment unconstitutional, Shlomit Auciello, Herald Gazette
      ...suggests that the U.S. Census policy that calls for the inclusion of prisoners in the count for the localities where they are incarcerated, rather than the communities where they vote and maintain homes, is harmful to democracy.
  • State asked to rethink school-aid cuts, Al Edwards, American Journal
      ...Cape board took issue with the formula the state used, rewarding higher property valuations with higher cuts.
  • Bucksport RSU Hearing Draws a Small Crowd, Cyndi Wood, Ellsworth American
  • A Poor Trade-off, Editorial, Ellsworth American
      ...Ultimately, the state likely will accomplish a resulting reduction in the amount of money it must allocate for K-12 public education in Maine. But for many communities, their education costs will go up, not down, in the form of higher property taxes. Local town meeting votes on school budgets no longer will occur, and local school boards making decisions about the needs of their students and communities will have become a thing of the past.
  • The consolidation conundrum: Kittery continues to grapple with Maine’s school reorganization law, Liberty Hardy, The Wire
      ...“My big beef with the Department of Education and the commissioner is this: you cannot penalize Kittery for not forming an RSU with a neighboring district when your department authorized our neighboring districts alternative plans that did not include Kittery. You can’t do it,” Pelletier said.
  • Falmouth schools get OK to stand alone, Peggy Roberts, Forecaster
      ...Falmouth will avoid a $473,000 penalty that loomed after voters last November rejected consolidation with School Administrative District 51 by a nearly 3-1 margin.
  • Falmouth school chief a finalist for Mass. job, Peggy Roberts, Forecaster
      ...“I would hope that people would see (applying for the position) as what a rational and practical person would do,” he said. “I would be surprised if folks wouldn’t think I would look out for the well-being of my family given the uncertainty of what was happening.”
  • [Ellsworth region] New RSU Is in Best Interest of Students, Henry Ashmore, Omar Norton, Bill Webster and Wayne Enman, Ellsworth American

January 16, 2009

January 17, 2009

January 18, 2009

January 19, 2009

January 20, 2009

January 21, 2009

  • The consolidation hopper deepens, Matthew Stone, The Report Card
  • Unofficial results for Easton/SAD 42/SAD 45 reorg. vote
    Y N Y N
    Bridgewater     6 52
    Blaine (MSAD 42) 8 77
    Mars Hill (MSAD 42) 20 151    
    MSAD 42:  28 228
    Easton 7 249
    Washburn (MSAD 45) 26 34    
    Perham (MSAD 45) 10 53
    Wade (MSAD 45) 2 15
    MSAD 45: 38 102
    Total: 79 631


January 22, 2009

  • [Herman, Carmel, Levant] Voters Consider Fate of Consolidation Plan, Scott Sassone, WCSH6
  • [Camden, Rockport, Appleton, Hope, Lincolnville] Five town informational video about school district reorganization,

    Video produced by Geoffrey C. Parker for Chromunique' Audio Visual

  • Falmouth should have paid price for not merging, Editorial, Press Herald
      ...certain to be noticed by people involved in more complicated district mergers, where constituent towns are divided by demographics and geography. The merger law itself is under attack, and one of the major points of criticism is that it favors the state's more densely settled and affluent areas. The Falmouth example makes that hard to refute.
  • [Hermon, Carmel, Levant] 3 towns to vote on school merger plan, Kevin Miller, Bangor Daily News
      ...the board of directors of SAD 23, which comprises Carmel and Levant, voted unanimously to oppose the consolidation plan. Then last week, the Carmel Board of Selectmen followed suit with their own unanimous vote against the proposal. In early December, the Hermon School Committee cast a unanimous “no confidence” vote in the consolidation plan.
  • Jackman seeks exemption to consolidation, Diana Bowley, Bangor Daily News
      ...Perry said if the plan is rejected by those communities she serves, all of the communities will work collaboratively with municipal officials to cut “real costs” through shared services in special education, gifted and talented programs and transportation. Union 60 and SAD 12 already share Perry’s service as superintendent.
  • [Guildord, Dexter] SADs 4, 46 look at consolidation options, Diana Bowley, Bangor Daily News
      ...“The penalty is a known entity, a known quantity, and the costs of reorganizing are an unknown quantity and we’ve got a lot of promises that the state is going to be able to help us along, but I don’t see it.”
  • [Madison, Starks, Athens, Brighton Plt.] Vote on consolidation on Jan. 27, Judith Waugh, Morning Sentinel
      ...Consolidation saves approximately $100,000 (that's three districts together) the first couple of years. Look out after that!
  • 'Crazy year' awaits SAD 47-China merger, Colin Hickey, Kennebec Journal
      ...whether the creation of the regional school unit is a consolidation or a merger -- Ultimately, he said, the attorney general must make legal determination on which term applies.
  • After Rejecting Consolidation Otis Considers Alternatives, Jacqueline Weaver, Ellsworth American
      ...said the group did not want Gendron “to go around and around” about why the town should have a revote on joining the RSU. She said members just want to hear about the legal ramifications of their situation from the state’s perspective.
  • Consolidation Plan Not Warmly Received At Hearing in Blue Hill, James Straub, Ellsworth American
      ...“There is so much unknown, and we don’t appear to be able to trust anything the state is telling us,” said Selectman John Bannister, who served on the reorganization committee that drafted the plan. “If we vote ‘yes,’ we’re in for life. If we vote ‘no,’ we could vote again.”
  • [Hancock County] Maine Communities to Vote On Consolidation, Cyndi Wood, Ellsworth American
  • Repeal of Consolidation Law Overdue, Robert C. Dick, Ellsworth American
      ...The damage done by that diversion from the purposes of education may well be felt for years.
  • School Consolidation: Not for Rural Maine, Skip Greenlaw, Ellsworth American
  • The Circus is in Town!*, Downeast Schoolhouse
      ...If we acknowledge that the government is not completely separate from us, an alien entity, but to some extent a projection of our hopes and dreams, than we may have to also acknowledge that we may not be completely well-adjusted!
  • [The View from Vermont] Viewpoint: Funding K-12 Education, Jon C. Reidel, University of Vermont
      ..."Governor Douglas is suggesting that elected local officials and voters do not know how to make good decisions when it comes to formulating and passing local school budgets," he says. "In these hard economic times, it is easy to scapegoat. ...I predict that the governor will have a tough row to hoe here, because he has alienated the very people who are democratically accountable for delivering a quality educational experience to all children."

January 23, 2009

January 24, 2009

  • [...So goes Rhode Island] Governor Carcieri moves on consolidation, Edward Fitzpatrick, Providence Journal
      ...“The time has come,” Carcieri said, “to get serious and decide once and for all if we as a people have the will to come together, break down boundaries and share our resources.”
           This seems like a mountain worth climbing. But just as hikers take note of the corpses on the side of Mount Everest, this new commission should avoid missteps and take note of former House Minority Whip Nicholas Gorham, R-Coventry, who got voted out of office after he proposed that Exeter, Foster, Glocester, Scituate, West Greenwich and western Coventry merge into a single town called Westconnaug.
  • [Eddington, Brewer, Clifton, Holden] Town officials voice opposition to RSU 15, Nok-Noi Ricker, Bangor Daily News
  • [Blue Hill, Brooksville, Castine, Penobscot, Brooklin, Sedgwick, Deer Isle, Stonington, Surry] Island-Peninsula school plan goes to voters, Rich Hewitt, Bangor Daily News
  • Bucksport area towns to vote on school plan, Rich Hewitt, Bangor Daily News
  • [Hodgdon, Danforth, Dyer Brook, Hersey, Orient, Bancroft] Voters to decide new school plan, Jen Lynds, Bangor Daily News
  • Madison has other options for school restructuring, Suzanne Wagg, Morning Sentinel
  • Five town school reorganization: job is not finished, Editorial, Herald Gazette
      ...While we plan to vote no on the proposed reorganization plan that will appear at the polls on Tuesday, Jan. 27, it is not because we totally agree with the conclusion that the five towns remain on course with their educational structure. We will vote no because the alternative organizational structure represents no improvement on existing educational practices, and represents a mere Band-Aid on the issue.
           In fact, we feel strongly that the five towns should make it a priority to address streamlining their kindergarten to 12th-grade public school system, not only for efficiency, but also for educational excellence. Will a new committee rise from the ashes to address these issues?

January 25, 2009

  • [Andover, Bethel, Greenwood, Newry, Woodstock, & the Rangeley region] School consolidation vote is Tuesday, Alison Aloisio, Bethel Citizen
      ...“Does [the consolidation plan] pass the straight-face test? No. But we need to vote ‘yes’ on this because it’s the only chance we stand of not getting the $185,000 penalty.”
  • Three Towns Reject Consolidation Plan, WCSH6

January 26, 2009

January 27, 2009

January 28, 2009

January 29, 2009

January 30, 2009

February 2, 2009

February 3, 2009

February 4, 2009

February 5, 2009

February 6, 2009

February 7, 2009

February 8, 2009

  • [The view from PA, ...& IN & AR & MD] Pennsylvania school district consolidation a mixed bag, Genevieve Marshall, Morning Call
      ...Proponents often wrongly assume mergers will result in big savings, said William Duncombe, a Syracuse University professor who studied New York school districts that consolidated between 1987 and 1995. In the long run, he said, only a few administrative positions can be eliminated.
  • Attitudes must change if we are to progress, Editorial, Kennebec Journal
      ...School consolidation has been mangled and modified and messed with over the last few years to a point where it's hard to tell just what it's going to accomplish. And in a move that would be shocking to anyone who has heard the anti-tax drumbeat over the last decade in Maine, there are even towns that have opted to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties rather than see their schools consolidate.

February 9, 2009

February 10

February 11

February 12

  • Let’s Take a Breather, Editorial, Ellsworth American
      ...there seems to have been no attempt early on to study those towns and cities that were spending less than the state average per pupil to find out how they were doing so. ...Absent was any apparent concern that some municipalities might have to spend more money, as has proven to be the case.
  • Self-government, freedom are expensive, Peter Nielsen, Kennebec Journal
      ...Developing ever-larger institutions diminishes our individual ability to make decisions, and furthers the trend toward making us spectators to our own lives. The best decisions get made by people closest to those affected. Don't be so bothered by those who won't relinquish the value of self-government.
  • This economic crisis means Maine must get more efficient, Gordon L. Weil, Kennebec Journal
  • Four-day weeks are unaffordable, Editorial, Sun Journal
  • State Has Not Fulfilled Its Mandate, Richard Washburn, Ellsworth American
      ...The state will take revenue from the small rural districts to fund the districts that were able to comply with the law because the law as written accommodates their situation. This stinks just like what it is.
  • School Reorganization Not in Lamoine’s Best Interest, Hans Schmidt, Ellsworth American
  • Otis Will Have Necessary Office Staff, Otis School Committee, Ellsworth American
  • SADs 31, 41 to review consolidation plan at meeting, Nick Sambides Jr., Bangor Daily News
      ...“It’s pretty late in the game now to get something done.”
  • LD 522: Resolve, To Establish the Study Commission Regarding Teachers' Salaries, Rep. Sutherland; co-sponsors: Reps. Cain, Martin, Rotundo, Schatz, Wagner
      ...establishes the Study Commission Regarding Teachers' Salaries to investigate conditions affecting teachers' salaries in this State, which despite the enactment of a minimum teachers' salary law and substantial increases in general purpose aid for local schools in recent years have not kept pace with inflation and have declined in rank relative to other states in the nation. The resolve authorizes the commission to make findings and recommendations and to submit suggested legislation to ensure that all teachers are paid at rates that are commensurate with their experience, education, professional responsibilities and essential role in the development of the State's economy and human capital.
  • LD 551: An Act To Improve the Essential Programs and Services Funding Formula, Rep. Finch
      ...a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208. This bill proposes to enact measures designed to improve the essential programs and services funding formula.
  • Georgetown looking for school partners, Susan Johns, Wiscasset Newspaper
      "...we all have small coastal populations, high property values, and are wanting to keep our small community schools open."
  • Georgetown possible addition to Union 49, Lisa Kristoff, Boothbay Register
      ..." … if Union 49 decided to wait and see what happened with the appeal to the consolidation law, and, if we were up and operational (with the addition of Georgetown) by July 1, 2010 the penalties would be lifted from that day forward. We would have penalties just for one year." ...King said the DOE would pay for any legal fees incurred and provide any support that might be needed should talks turn to action.

February 13

February 14

February 15

February 17

February 18

February 19

February 20

  • EPS by the numbers: Total staffing
  • A sorry PR effort, Editorial, Mount Desert Islander
      ...What no press release mentioned last week is that the state isn’t fulfilling its promises for minimum funding and has, in fact, steadily cut funds for education as its budget crisis deepens. And what they don’t mention is that education funding relief isn’t applied uniformly or evenly, and that higher valuation towns, especially along the coast, get little or nothing.
  • [View from the UK] Tests blamed for blighting children's lives, Polly Curtis, The Guardian
      ...The review accuses the government of attempting to control what happens in every classroom in England, leading to an excessive focus on literacy and numeracy in an "overt politicisation" of children's lives. Despite this too many children still leave primary school having failed to master the 3Rs.
  • [MDI] High school budget passes, Oka Hutchins, Mount Desert Islander
  • Summary of the Education Provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Commissioner Gendron

February 21

February 22

February 23

February 24

  • [Department of Mis-stated Magnitudes: (a report from the Happy Hour breakaway session at the Governors' Convention)] Legislators tread lightly around school consolidation, O.Kay Henderson, Radio Iowa
      ... "Maine went from roughly the same number of school districts we have now to about 25. Arkansas put in a bill that basically said at a certain point you can't exist if you're under 500 kids and Nebraska went totally away from their county school system which still supported one-room schoolhouses," [Iowa Education Department Legislative and Policy Liasion] Jeff Berger says. "We just think it would be fascinating to hear lessons learned from each of them: What went well? What didn't go well?...What are unforeseen wrinkles in the process, so we don't have to reinvent that bad wheel if there is one."
  • Four of five proposals set for fall ballot, Glenn Adams, AP
  • LD 635: An Act To Provide Additional Time to Certain School Administrative Units To Comply with School Administrative Unit Reorganization Laws, Rep. Fitts; co-sponsors: Reps. Austin, Beaulieu, Beck, Bickford, Browne, Cray, Crockett, Curtis, Davis, Eaton, Edgecomb, Fletcher, Fossel, Gilbert, Kruger, Langley, Legg, Lewin, Mcfadden, McKane, Miller, Nelson, Pieh, Pingree, Piotti, Richardson, Robinson, Saviello, Schatz, Tardy, Theriault, Wagner, Weaver, Webster; Senators Bowman, Bryant, Courtney, Davis, Gooley, Jackson, Marrache, Mitchell, Sherman, Sullivan, Weston
      ...provides additional time for a school administrative unit to comply with the reorganization law if it approved a reorganization plan at a referendum prior to January 30, 2009 but is unable to implement the plan because the plan was rejected by one or more of its proposed partners. The school administrative unit would be allowed to restart the process to form a regional school unit with the same or other school administrative units.
  • LD 636: An Act To Control Education Administrative Costs, Rep. Bolduc
      ...changes the ratio of students to school administrative staff used to calculate salary and benefit costs to 500:1. It defines "school administrative staff" as principals, assistant principals and special education coordinators.
  • [MDI] Stimulus money reduces funding needed for schools, Dick Broom, Bar Harbor Times

February 25

February 26

  • [NCLB] The Accountability Illusion, Fordham Institute (2/19/2009)
    • Maine report
        ...Maine’s proficiency cut scores generally ranked above average, or relatively difficult, compared with the standards set by the other states in the study. In addition, Maine’s minimum subgroup size is 20, which is quite small compared to most other states. This means that more subgroups are held accountable in Maine than would be in other states. In fact, all but two schools with limited English proficient (LEP) or students-with disabilities (SWD) subgroups failed to make AYP, in part because these students did not meet the state’s proficiency targets in math and reading.
  • Gendron goes to Washington, Matthew Stone, Kennebec Journal
  • Rumblings from Wells...
    • WOCSD/Action merger a bad idea, Les LaFond, Portsmouth Herald
        ...both York and Kittery have since been granted "stand-alone status" while Wells-Ogunquit's request for the same "stand-alone status" was denied WITHOUT specific reasons being given for the denial
    • Reject the school merger plan, Ron Schneider, Portsmouth Herald
        ...the ax that the state threatens us with may have little if anything left to cut.
  • [MHPC on EPS] A 55 percent state share of K-12 spending? We’re already there, Stephen Bowen, Maine Heritage Policy Center
      ...The state’s contributions to retiree benefits are a labor cost associated with the operation of Maine’s schools and ought to be counted as part of the state’s share. Calculations should also include the actual spending being done by local school districts, rather than the largely fictional local share calculation done under EPS.
  • Local school districts eye federal stimulus money, Laura Dolce, York County Coast Star
  • [View from MassHampshire] Pelham may consider two-state school plan, Terry Date, Eagle Tribune
      ..."You need a like-minded spirit for it to succeed."

February 27

  • Gendron: We're still playing the waiting game, Matthew Stone, Kennebec Journal
      ...Obama's administration is counting on some significant education breakthroughs as a result of the funding boost. "They really want us to think about different programming,"
  • Gendron: Funds for schools will be spent wisely, Kevin Miller, Bangor Daily News
      ...prompted Rep. John Martin, D-Eagle Lake, to ask whether the state should set up a process wherein school districts could be penalized for not following instructions passed on by state and federal officials.
  • Fayette looks around for new school partner, Matthew Stone, Kennebec Journal
  • Academies need to share state's fiscal pain, Editorial, Kennebec Journal
  • Strong suppport, David Connerty-Marin, Mount Desert Islander
      ...the state has spent more than $5 million of federal money to help start and support AP programs. ...Ellsworth and MDI schools have done excellent work in this area, among others and we believe the success of the AP initiative is due mostly to the strong commitment of the teachers who have become a part of it.
  • AOS system would cost Vassalboro $250K, Scott Monroe, Morning Sentinel
      ...“It’d be two years in a row to come up with a quarter of a million dollars and we don’t have that; that’s not going to fly,”
  • [Eastern Washington County] Area school unions to wait until spring
    for alternative plans
    , Eileen Curry, Quoddy Tides (2/27/2009)
      "...Given the large number of schools facing financial penalties imposed by the consolidation law, it is unclear what action the legislature will take when it deals with this complex issue. It could affirm the citizens initiative and repeal the law or more likely attempt to modify the requirements without creating a 'competing measure.'"

February 28

  • [Editorial arithmetic at relativistic distances: the view from the dukedoms of exemption] Tax Answers Not on Ballot, Editorial, Bangor Daily News
      ...a ballot question seeks to repeal the consolidation law that most school districts are implementing.
  • Economic Stimulus Plan: What relief will York’s taxpayers see?, Jennifer L. Saunders, York Independent
      ...In funds received from the state, meanwhile, York's share was just over $144,000 in Title 1 funds and $388,713 in local entitlement funds for fiscal 2008, while the state's subsidy that is determined by local special education costs dropped over the past two years due to state budget cuts from 84 percent to 50 percent of the total expenditure, which meant a $900,000 cut to the York School Department budget last spring, followed by another cut to 45 percent in December.

March 1

March 2

March 3

  • [Innovations in regionalization] State approves Brewer’s school plan, Nok-Noi Ricker, Bangor Daily News
      ...After talks with DOE team members, Brewer decided to stand alone, “with the understanding that those other schools would form a K-8 RSU” and later sign contracts with Brewer to provide high school education to their students.
  • The future of Arts Education in Maine is in danger, Melissa Prescott, Learning in Maine
  • Maine's SAT mission, Matthew Stone, The Report Card
      ...As Maine tries to raise high school students' college aspirations by requiring the SAT, fewer colleges are concerned about the test.
  • Compromise proposed for Georgetown-RSU 1 rift, Seth Koenig, Times Record
      ..."It's crazy complicated, ...but it really represents a spirit of cooperation and compromise between the two boards."

March 4

March 5

March 6

March 6

March 7

  • [Jay] State: School needs to partner or pay, Donna M. Perry, Sun Journal
      Resident... said he felt that the penalty should be paid for through all the town's departments since the town as a whole voted no on consolidation.
  • [Eastern Washington County] Area school unions to wait until spring for alternative plans, Eileen Curry, Quoddy Tides (2/27/2009)
      "...Given the large number of schools facing financial penalties imposed by the consolidation law, it is unclear what action the legislature will take when it deals with this complex issue. It could affirm the citizens initiative and repeal the law or more likely attempt to modify the requirements without creating a 'competing measure.'"

March 8

  • Together we won't, Elaine McArdle, Boston Globe
      ...These findings challenged the entire consolidation movement, which was spearheaded with almost no critical inquiry by state officials and educational administrators... "They seem to be convinced, almost as a matter of professional ideology, that bigger must be better,"

March 9

  • Some surprises when fusing school systems, Editorial, Kennebec Journal
      ...With a handful of bills introduced this session to further change the school-consolidation law, and a referendum vote coming up that would scrap the process entirely, we do not blame communities that are still on the fence about consolidation for taking their time, all things considered.

March 10

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December 31, 2009

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November 11

  • Rule Set for $4 Billion 'Race to Top' Contest, Michele McNeil, Ed Week
      ...ñ€œThere will be a lot more losers than winners.ñ€
  • What's the future for budget validation?, Matthew Stone, The Report Card

November 10

November 9

November 8

November 7

  • Rolling up the odd sleeves, Tomaz Lasic,
      ...Hence, we declare that the problem of education is not the idea of effort and production itself but rather what is valued in schools and, as a result of these values, what education is producing. Better world?
  • 12 popular RSUs and four that may be in trouble: a town-level analysis of the repeal vote

November 6

November 5

November 4

  • School Consolidation Remains in Place, Derek Viger, The Maine View
  • School consolidation remains the law of the land, Matthew Stone, Press Herald
  • Local democracy as well as local lettuce, Sam Smith, Undernews
      ...One of my big disappointments in politics has been the indifference of liberals - the sort who boost local food - with keeping democracy close to home as well. They often talk about it as though it was some sort of holdover from the states' rights days of segregation.
  • The Point of No Return, Downeast Schoolhouse
      ...itñ€™s going to be harder and harder to get communities to care about their schools if they have less and less to say about how theyñ€™re run.
  • Repeal of school reform law rejected, Rich Hewitt, Bangor Daily News

November 3

November 2

November 1

October 31

  • The MEA Saga Continues, Derek Viger, The Maine View
      ...Arenñ€™t unions about protecting the disenfranchised?

October 30

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September 26

  • [News from the Neocene: Department of Megafauna: Office of Woolly Maths] Pro-consolidators launch website:
    • ...School district consolidation can save taxpayers $36 million every year and hundreds of millions of dollars in the future. Repealing the measure will wipe out those savings and will make local property taxes will (sic) go up much, much faster.
    • Q ñ€“ What about local control?
      A ñ€“ Every school in Maine will still be run by the school principle (sic) and the parents of the children who go to that school. New regional school units (RSUs) have been successful in establishing their own unique governing structure to give each town in the RSU a clear voice in the process.
    • Mission Statement and 'Letterhead Committee'
  • Does repeal cost too much?, Matthew Stone, The Report Card
  • [Winslow] School committee mulls change of terms of merger, Scott Monroe, Morning Sentinel

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September 10

September 9

September 8

September 7

September 6

September 5

September 3

  • [Department of astronomical tides of spittle] Obama's Plan to Speak to Schoolchildren Ignites Furor, Matthew Haag and Theodore Kim, Ed Week
  • Lawmakers meet again to discuss budget cuts, Rebekah Metzler, Sun Journal
  • DHHS: No more cuts possible, Kevin Miller, Bangor Daily News
      ...One idea discussed during a recent gathering of superintendents is keeping staff and children home for a few days each year.
      ...Other possible cost-saving strategies discussed by superintendents included wage freezes, statewide bidding for energy and statewide contracts and health benefits. There also appeared to be support for eliminating special education programs offered by Maine schools that go beyond federal requirements.

September 2

September 1

August 31

  • Learning Isn't For Nine Months; It's Forever, Jay Mathews, Washington Post
      ...Still, we have some promising examples of teaching methods that have broken away from the back-to-school model. The Chugach School District in Alaska raised reading scores from the 28th to the 71st percentile in five years with a program that let students move at an individual pace, mastering one concept before moving to the next.
  • Per-Student Spending Gaps Wider Than Known, Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post
      ...secular private schools analyzed in the study spent $20,100 on each student in the 2007-08 school year vs. $10,100 in public schools.
  • Rural schools to wait and see, Betty Jesperson, Morning Sentinel
  • Threat was 'bad politics,' says Mills, Betty Jesperson, Morning Sentinel

August 30

  • [Department of broadened aspirations] Georgia students lag on SAT tests, Nancy Badertscher, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
      ...finished ahead of only South Carolina, Hawaii, Maine and the District of Columbia.

August 29

August 28

August 26

August 25

August 24

August 23

August 22

August 21

  • [Livermore Falls] Student test scores show improvement, Donna M. Perry, Sun Journal
      ...All three groups have to meet the minimum standards, and if one group fails to meet them then the whole school is identified as not meeting annual yearly progress...
      ...This year the whole school and the economically disadvantaged group met the improvement requirements while special education didn't

August 20

August 19

  • [Department of the magic 8-ball] Voters reject SAD 37 budget for second time: 342-270 vote sends budget back to board, Downeast Coastal Press (not on-line)
      Addison: Y: 63; N: 32
      Cherryfield: Y: 26; N: 104
      Columbia: Y: 20; N: 38
      Columbia Falls: Y: 26; N: 84
      Harrington: Y: 74; N: 34
      Milbridge: Y: 61; N: 50

August 18

  • Fed-generated momentum, Matthew Stone, The Report Card
  • Urban Education Secretary in Rural Hamlet, Michele McNeil, Politics K-12, Ed Week
  • {You and US against the world] Special Analysis: International Assessments, National Center for Educational Statistics
  • Maine Laptop Expansion Moves Forward, Katie Ash, Ed Week
  • Studies Weigh NCLB's Broad Impact, Dakarai I. Aarons, Ed Week
      ...found that schools with enough Hispanic or black students to be counted as a separate subgroup were more likely to not meet AYP under the NCLB law and to lose experienced teachers after the failure to meet AYP is made public.
      ...Susan Anthony Elementary had 49 Hispanic studentsñ€”not enough to count for a subgroupñ€”and the school made AYP. But neighboring Caroline Wenzel Elementary had 52 Hispanic students, enough to count as a subgroup, and failed to meet AYP.

August 16

August 14

August 13

August 12

  • Ravitch on Charters, Kevin Drum, Mother Jones
  • Raising Rigor, Getting Results: Lessons Learned from AP Expansion, National Governors Association Center for Best Practices
      ...Maine set up a mentoring initiative for
      new AP teachers as part of a larger effort to build
      a college-going culture. Mentors were paid a
      $2,500 honorarium and met officially three times
      per year with new AP teachers. Those who delivered
      extra workshops geared to teachersñ€™ immediate
      needs were paid an extra $500 per day.
  • [Department of dis-inflation] School cuts just starting, Matthew Stone, Kennebec Journal
  • [Hampden, Winterport, Newburgh] SAD 22 leaders create education foundation, Eric Russell, Bangor Daily News

August 11

August 10

  • Review of EPS: Has the funding formula done its job?, MSMA
  • 60,000 New Students and 20,000 New Teachers: Results from the Census Bureau School Finances Report, Education Intelligence Agency
    • ...With more payroll chasing a flattening number of students, it's no surprise to discover that per-pupil spending rose a healthy 5.8% in 2006-07
    • 2006-07 State Rankings in Enrollment, Teachers, Per-Pupil Spending, and Spending on Compensation
    • ..."When you have senators and everyone else attacking public education, the public goes with the attack and teachers feel the frustration and lack of respect. Therefore without the incentive to stay in the classroom of a pay increase or seeing the support there in the public with our politicians, they just opt to retire. And teaching is a difficult job under the best of circumstances, and when you face constant criticism and attacks, it makes it that much more difficult." ñ€“ West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee. Last year at this time, about 860 teachers (out of 24,000) had announced plans to retire. This year, it's "about 100 more."

August 9

August 8

  • [Department of boxes within ballot boxes] Sheepscot Valley RSU: Residents voice concerns over consolidation , Mechele Cooper, Kennebec Journal
      ..."I think what you're seeing is people voting against consolidation," Barrett said. "They all want education, they're not voting against that. Some people tried to explain in letters to the editor that you need to separate the two issues, but in my opinion it's all one issue. We were forced to accept something we didn't want. And in Maine, if somebody forces something on you, it doesn't set right."
  • [Manchester, Readfield, Mount Vernon, Wayne] RSU 38: New union faces cash-flow issue, Beth Evans, Kennebec Journal

August 7

August 6

  • Superintendent's Conference Follow-Up - Standards Based Education, Commissioner Gendron, informational letter
      ...These events will provide the opportunities you requested in order for regions and districts to go deeper into the Model
  • [Department of Prudence's dictations] School Unit 11 to discuss well, Mechele Cooper, Kennebec Journal
      ..."We are now an RSU, but we're not going to change bank accounts and turn everything over until the November referendum... We're just not going to spend money unwisely until we know definitively we're RSU 11."

August 5

August 4

August 3

July 31

  • Per-pupil spending on instruction, administration, and support (06-07 Census data)
  • Transparency of Common-Standards Process at Issue, Sean Cavanagh, Ed Week
  • State aid to schools keeps falling, Erica Kimball & Shannon Welsh, Bangor Daily News
      ...While the state increased funding for K-12 education in 2005 after a statewide referendum requiring it to pay 55 percent of the costs, that goal has never been met and the percent is projected to drop to 45 percent state-share by fiscal year 2011. ...Pressure is now being put on schools not to exceed the amount determined by the Essential Programs and Services funding formula, which became law along with the 55 percent funding target. The irony is the EPS formula was developed to make sure districts were spending enough on education, not to be used as a spending cap.

July 30

  • [Department of cold fusion and counter-marginal costs] A charter school proponent lays out his case, Matthew Stone, The Report Card
      ...For school districts, they could represent a savings, Bowen says, since only the amount of funding provided for in state funding formulas follows a student to a charter school. That doesn't include the amount in addition to what's provided for in the funding formula that most school districts spend. That amount stays with the school district with one less student to educate.
  • [Department of high-stakes testing relief, free markets, and interstate innovation: the $444 Maine diploma] North Atlantic Regional High School, Lewiston
  • The Great Graduation-Rate Debate, Christine O. Wolfe, Fordham Institute
  • Top 10 [Race to the Top] Questions, Patrick Riccards, Eduflack

July 29

July 28

July 27

July 25

July 24

July 23

  • Lawmakers Grill Education Commissioner on Spending, A.J. Higgins, MPBN
  • [Acton] Q&A with Alton Hadley- New Acton school leader, Andrea Rose, keepmecurrent
      ...folks in Acton like to think of themselves as an island. They've asked for an exemption and I think they make a strong case and should be treated like an island school district. They've made due diligence to try partner with Sanford and Wells-Ogunquit, but it's not a good fit because 1. There's no cost savings and 2. There's no interest from other districts. I don't think there's any (other) place locally that would be logical.
  • [Federal money and laptops] An Apple for Your Teacher, Anne Marie Chaker, Wall Street Journal

July 22

July 21

July 17

July 16

July 15

July 14

July 13

July 11

July 10

  • [View from Buckfield] School merger law has created many problems statewide, Judith Berg, Press Herald
      ...Reorganization with tax reform might have yielded cost reductions. However, we ended up with half-measures that may not reduce costs, might increase them, and have little positive effect on education. As it stands, there is this choice: Vote down the school budget or vote for repeal in November.

July 9

  • [More on the green, green grass of Bath] Report touts RSU 1 as planning model, Seth Koenig, Times Record
  • [Freeport, Pownal, Durham] Rejected school budget grows, Deirdre Fleming, Press Herald
      PPH Correction: ñ€ą A story on Thursday should have said the board of directors for Regional School Unit No. 5, which comprises Freeport, Durham and Pownal, approved a 2009-10 school budget totaling $22.69 million. The new budget reflects cuts totaling $85,831 from the previous 2009-10 budget, which was rejected by voters in June. The board also reinstated 2.5 high school teaching positions that had been cut from the budget.
  • RSU 5 board cuts $86K from budget for Freeport, Pownal, Durham, Amy Anderson, Forecaster

July 8

July 7

July 6

July 4

  • Consolidation won't work because costs are more than savings, Skip Greenlaw, Kennebec Journal
  • [Chelsea, Whitefield, Palermo, Somerville, Windsor, Alna, Westport Island and Wiscasset] School unit in limbo, Mechele Cooper, Kennebec Journal
      ..."We put out (a request for proposals) for a central office, but people were reluctant to make changes until the vote in November to repeal the consolidation.

July 3

July 2

July 1

June 30

June 29

June 26

June 25

June 24

  • Acton takes merger plea to Augusta, Ann Fisher,
      ...One possibility that hasn't been discussed is an interstate compact with bordering New Hampshire. There have been no school districts that have taken advantage of the Maine-New Hampshire Interstate School Compact statute, which covers formation, officers and borrowing and applicability of state laws, among other issues, according to Connerty-Marin.
  • Will patience bring progress in school reform?, Editorial, Journal Tribune
  • [By the numbers] Where the students are (updated, 6/24)
  • Baldacci Signs One-Year Delay on School Penalties, Will Tuell, Downeast Coastal Press
  • Governor Baldacci Signs Bill to Delay Penalties for School Districts, Governor's press release and Executive Order (6/19)
      ...hereby order the following: That the Commissioner of the Department of Education continue efforts to facilitate school administrative reorganization among the school administrative units, which represent about 12 percent of the Stateñ€™s students, that have not come into compliance with PL 2007, chapter 240, Part XXXX by July 1, 2009. The Commissioner is directed to confer with representatives of each of the school administrative units that are not in compliance with the reorganization law, to determine the reasons for delay; and to determine whether current law allows sufficient flexibility for units to come into compliance. The Commissioner is directed to report to me no later than January 1, 2010 with any recommendations for changes needed to assist all school administrative units with the reorganization law, and to further assist all units.
  • Consolidation delay doesn't mean do nothing, Editorial, Kennebec Journal
  • Local schools begin getting stimulus funds, Matthew Stone, Kennebec Journal

June 23

June 22

June 21

June 20

June 19

June 18

June 17

June 16

June 15

June 14

June 12

June 11

June 10

June 9

June 8

June 6

June 5

June 4

June 3

June 1

May 30

May 29

May 28

May 27

May 26

May 25

May 23

May 22

May 21

May 20

May 19

May 18

  • No more delays on Learning Results, Editorial, Press Herald
      ...never intended to be a statewide curriculum, or meant to be assessed through high-stakes testing. Individual districts were expected to come up with their own ways to reach the goals and multiple methods of evaluating student achievement. That put a financial burden on school districts that wasn't always supported by the state.
  • Superintendent stays with Lincoln schools, Nick Sambides Jr., Bangor Daily News
      ...ñ€œI am trying to think of something that changed and, frankly, I cannot. Itñ€™s the same towns and same people on the boards, essentially.ñ€
  • Mattawamkeag to revisit school closing, Nick Sambides Jr., Bangor Daily News
      ...short-term, our costs in town would increase by 68 percent, but once you lose that attraction to live here in town, then you either lose people or you donñ€™t have a draw to bring them to town, ...One way or another, you lose taxes.ñ€

May 16

May 15

May 14

May 13

May 12

May 11

May 10

May 9

May 8

May 7

May 6

May 5

  • Laptops for high school students: At what cost?, Larry Grard, Morning Sentinel
  • Pupil tracking idea elicits privacy worry Plan involves Social Security numbers, Matthew Stone, Morning Sentinel
  • Surry officials to vote on Union 93 services, Rich Hewitt, Bangor Daily News
      ...Although the reorganization law allows school unions to continue to exist, education officials have indicated that it does not allow them to change the composition of those unions.
  • Judge orders votes on closing schools, Rich Hewitt, Bangor Daily News
      ...ñ€œIñ€™m upset and disappointed that things have come to this point,ñ€ said Columbia Falls Selectman Vance Pineo. ñ€œIñ€™m wondering ñ€” if the selectmen have to sign the warrant whether we want to or not, why the school district didnñ€™t just post it themselves.ñ€

May 4

May 3

May 1

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