Maine Public interviews Donaldson for report on district consolidation

Gordon Donaldson, professor emeritus of education at the University of Maine, spoke with Maine Public for the report, “10 years later, Maine schools still wrestle with district consolidation.” Ten years ago, Maine Gov. John Baldacci signed a law changing the structure of education across the state, forcing districts to consolidate with schools in nearby towns to save money. But a decade later, the consolidation experiment has led to more conflict than success in many districts, Maine Public reported. “In Maine, it’s always going to come down to the local unit and the local community,” Donaldson said. “And I think that’s the way it should be.” He added that while some of the larger districts have stayed together and thrived, dozens of others have fallen apart as communities have sought to regain local control of their schools. One reason consolidation didn’t work in so many districts, according to Donaldson, is that few saved money, and some communities feared the closure of a local school.