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Measure Details

An Act to Repeal the School District Consolidation Laws

Maine Ballot Measure - Question 3: Citizen Initiative

Election: Nov. 3, 2009 (General)
Outcome: Failed

K-12 Education


This initiated bill repeals the laws related to the consolidation of school administrative units that were enacted by the First Regular Session of the 123rd Legislature in Public Law 2007, chapter 240, Part XXXX. It restores the laws that were amended or repealed to accommodate the consolidation.

Intent and Content
Prepared by the Office of the Attorney General

This citizen-initiated legislation would repeal the school district consolidation law that was enacted by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in June, 2007, and subsequently amended in 2008 and 2009, and would re-enact the laws governing school administrative units in Maine that were in effect prior to June 2007.

The 2007 school district consolidation law required every school administrative unit in the state to submit a reorganization plan or alternative plan to the state Department of Education by December 1, 2007, and to present it for voter approval at a local referendum election to be held on or before November 4, 2008. The goal of reorganization was to reduce the number of school administrative units in the state from 290 to approximately 80, by creating Regional School Units and eliminating school administrative districts (SADs), community school districts (CSDs), and school unions that were formed under the laws in effect before June 2007. Each new Regional School Unit was to serve at least 2,500 students, or at least 1,200 students if it was impractical to create a larger unit due to geography, density and distribution of the population, or transportation problems. Island and tribal schools, school administrative units that already served more than 2,500 (or 1,200) students, and units with existing administrative costs of less than 4% per pupil and at least three high performing schools within the unit were allowed to file alternative plans. Every school administrative unit in the state was required to submit a plan demonstrating how it would reduce administrative costs.

The 2008 amendments to the school district consolidation law allowed isolated, rural communities to form units of fewer than 1,200 but no fewer than 1,000 students, and also allowed for the creation of alternative organizational structures as a third option for complying with the law. The deadline for getting voter approval at a referendum election was extended from November 2008 to January 30, 2009. Penalties for noncompliance with the law's requirements, as amended, include reduced state subsidies for system administrative costs and a 2% increase in the education mill rate to be paid by a non-complying school unit.

In 2009, the law was further amended to delay penalties for one year for all school administrative units that are not yet in compliance.

All of the above provisions would be repealed by this citizen initiative, and the laws pertaining to school administrative units within the state that existed prior to June, 2007, would be re-enacted. The status of Regional School Units and alternative organizational structures already formed under the consolidation law will have to be addressed by the Legislature if this initiative is approved.

If approved, this citizen initiated legislation would take effect 30 days after proclamation of the vote.

A "YES" vote favors repeal of the 2007 school district consolidation law and its amendments.

A "NO" vote opposes repeal and favors leaving the 2007 school district consolidation law and its amendments in effect.

Measure Text

Do you want to repeal the 2007 law on school district consolidation and restore the laws previously in effect?

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