Additional FAQS will be added as questions are received. Please use the form to contact us with your questions.

Why should the law be repealed?
Maine needs to find a way to create savings, and the implementation of this law is far too costly. Real damage is being done to our schools: loss of funding, the enormous diversion from tending to education, the "civil wars" between towns fighting over money and control. The law was hastily assembled without input from educators, forced into acceptance because it was presented as part of the biennial budget, and it is too flawed to fix. It is unlikely that additional significant consolidation will take place under the current law, and that leaves approximately 126 out of 219 school districts in non-compliance and subject to financial penalties beginning July 1, 2010. Most of these non-complying districts are in the rural parts of the State, and the loss of funding will affect them seriously since many are in the poorest counties in Maine. The State is in far worse financial shape today than when the law was passed, and the outlook for the future does not show a turnaround. We need to start over with a clean slate and input from the people who know and understand the system. That being said, a few school districts have made consolidation work for them, and that is to their credit. It is acknowledged that additional legislation to preserve the work they have done can easily be achieved.
If the law is repealed will it cost the state $36.5 million?
No. $36.5 million was cut from State education subsidy in fiscal year 2008-2009 as a mechanism to balance the State budget. In September 2009 Commissioner Gendron told the Education Committee that there would be a straightforward way to keep the cut on the books – a necessary move to keep the budget in balance. It would require adding some language to a supplemental budget that would uphold the reduction, which would then have to be approved by the full Legislature. “The $36 million is the least of the issues,” the commissioner said.
What are the facts on how Maine ranks in spending for education?
Maine ranks 12th in cost per pupil nationwide and we spend more per pupil than the national average, but our spending ranks 6th out of 7,  within our economic region of New England and New York. Maine ranks 24th in cost per pupil for general administration. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/expenditures/tables/table_03.asp?referrer=edfin

Current per-pupil expenditures for public elementary and secondary education in the United States: 2005-2006

NOTE: Current expenditures include instruction, instruction-related, support services, and other elementary/secondary current expenditures, but exclude expenditures on capital outlay, other programs, and interest on long-term debt.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "National Public Education Financial Survey (NPEFS)," fiscal year 2006, Version 1a.

If the law is repealed, what will happen to the  21 Regional School Units (RSUs)
and five Alternative Organizational Structures (AOSs) that were formed under the law?
Commissioner Gendron said RSUs could be designated as School Administrative Districts (SADs), which would still exist in law if consolidation is repealed. RSUs were, in fact, modeled after SADs, so the transition would be a relatively smooth one. SAD law also has a mechanism for members to withdraw if the arrangement isn’t working – an escape clause that does not exist for RSUs. Legislation would be needed to turn RSUs into SADs, and the commissioner recommended the Legislature also consider passing a law that allows for a bridge period during which that transformation could take place. She recommended a bridge of 18 months to two years. As for AOSs, Commissioner Gendron said they were created through inter-local agreements that arguably would still be in place even if consolidation is repealed.
If the law is not repealed, what will happen to the school districts that did not reorganize?
The commissioner told the Education Committee that legislation should be approved even if the law is not repealed to deal with some persistent problems with the mandate – most notably the minimum district size, which has prevented smaller school districts from coming together. Also, the Legislature passed a bill to delay the penalties for one year for school districts that have not reorganized. The Legislature will have to deal with the penalty issue and myriad other issues that were tabled until after the referendum.
We hear a lot about The Brookings Report. What is it and what exactly does it say?
The Brookings Report was commissioned by GrowSmart Maine, a statewide non-profit citizens' organization, and published in October  2006. The report does make a case for reducing the number of Maine's school units, but before that it says: "Right now, Maine’s costs of government are too high and claim resources needed for other public purposes. To be sure, some of Maine’s costs flow from its values—values that tend to prefer generous social programs, small schools, and lots of small-scale, highly accessible local governments. And that is fine. But in many other respects, as this report suggests, Maine’s high expenditures on state and local government appear to owe not to “Maine values” or explicit priorities but the accumulation over time of redundant managerial layers, inefficient institutional structures, or excessive numbers of administrators dedicated to routine tasks like tax collection, “back-office” support, or corrections (p. 106)... First, Maine needs to launch a major, top-to-bottom review of state government, given its large size, its relatively high costs, and the potential fiscal savings therefore located there." (p. 107)

The report goes on to address the need to reduce the number of school administrative districts, predicting savings of around $25 million , but "First, the commissioner of education should immediately direct the Department of Education to employ its new accounting software to determine the true and accurate costs for system administration (now hard to ascertain) statewide and by region. Second, the governor should create a high-powered study group composed of top Maine education, budget, and technical experts to report to the legislature in detail within 18 months on the current costs of K–12 administration and redundancy as well as on transformative ways to reduce those costs through SAU reorganization, shared service delivery, or other new governance and administration models." (p. 109)

It is obvious that the steps outlined above were omitted, and ironic that  the adage expressed in the introduction to the report was disregarded: "As the search for quality places widens and grows in importance, Maine possesses a globally known “brand” built on images of livable communities, stunning scenery, and great recreational opportunities. Likewise, as “innovation” becomes a more important force in the economy, Maine’s reputation for Yankee ingenuity, resourcefulness, and craftsmanship means even more."  (p. 14). If a careful study of Maine's pre K-12 educational system that included the stakeholders had been allowed to take place, we could be years ahead in progress by now. Consolidation would not be threatening the life of rural communities that see a hidden agenda of closing schools; local municipal and school officials could be making the best decisions for their communities, unpressured by mandates tied to penalties.