Maine Public interviews UMaine’s Donaldson, Fairman for school regionalization report

As the state encourages more school districts to save money by sharing services, two UMaine professors spoke with Maine Public about the lessons that can be learned from school consolidation. Former Maine Governor John Baldacci first introduced the idea of merging districts in 2007 in an effort to save money by cutting down on administrative overhead. University of Maine Professor Emeritus Gordon Donaldson, who has studied consolidation, said the imagined savings never materialized. Janet Fairman, associate research professor and co-director of the Maine Education Policy Research Institute, says many districts ended up pulling out of their regional school units shortly after the mergers took place. “The push for local control is still very strong in Maine,” Fairman told Maine Public. “And I think that’s part of the reason that many of these school districts have pulled from their regional units.”