Reducing the number of school systems would save on administrative costs, Gov. LePage asserts.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage discusses consolidating school systems.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage wants to drastically reduce the number of school districts and superintendents in the state to save on administrative costs.
WGME-TV reports reports that LePage is backing legislation that would consolidate districts and create up to 12 regional centers to carry out services such as payroll, transportation, nutrition and professional development.
"We still have way too many school districts and way too many superintendents," LePage says. "That is the overwhelming problem in the State of Maine. Well, enrollment is dropping significantly, the school districts are not regionalizing and they're not working together."
The Maine Department of Education says that in 2014-15, the state had 620 public elementary and secondary schools and 242 school administrative units.
The governor acknowledged that consolidating school systems means people will have to lose their jobs.
The Associated Press reports that the $6.8 billion budget proposed by LePage includes about $991 million for public schools, a $20 million drop from this year.
Meanwhile, teachers, students and administrators rallied outside the state house in August. They want LePage and legislators to keep a tax surcharge that would provide a significant revenue increase for districts as well as reverse LePage's school budget proposals.
Video from WGME-TV: