PIHS to host school reorganization forum tonight

17 years ago

    PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – The Presque Isle High School Auditorium should be packed tonight – Wednesday, June 27 – as Department of Education officials will be in town helping people understand the School Administrative Reorganization law, which was enacted June 7 following Gov. John E. Baldacci’s signature on the two-year state budget.
    Education Commissioner Susan A. Gendron is the scheduled presenter at tonight’s 7 p.m. forum to provide information about the Reorganization Law, which sets forth state policy to ensure that schools be organized as units in order to provide equitable educational opportunities, rigorous academic programs, and uniformity in delivering programs.
The meetings are open to members of the public, including superintendents, school board members, teachers, parents, business people, and community members. A question-and-answer period will be part of the evening’s format.
Gendron will explain the new law and provide information about the role of local communities, the role of the Department of Education and the State Board of Education, and the resources available to local communities during the implementation process.
According to the Department of Education’s Web site, goals of the school administrative reorganization include increasing academic achievement, reducing duplicative system administration, achieving real savings that result in real tax relief, using limited resources effectively – mostly in the classroom, improving competitiveness of Maine’s classroom achievement with other states, improving the return on investment – that is, excellence in education, requiring transparency in budgeting so that local taxpayers see how the proposed school budget compares to state Essential Programs and Services recommendations for the school administrative unit, and ensuring that state-imposed savings are not replaced by local increases in taxes to make up the difference.
“Communities are encouraged to continue, or start, if they haven’t already, conversations with nearby school administrative units about the possibility of regionalizing, and to have conversations within their own communities about how best to achieve savings as required in the legislation without adversely affecting students in the classroom,” said Gendron on the department’s Web site. “We look forward to working together as we implement this new legislation.”