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Abstract/ Summary

Maine should be very proud of its public school system. Without question, since passage of the Sinclair Act in 1957, Maine has made great strides in the last 45 years in improving the quality of its public schools, and in expanding educational opportunities for more and more of its children. Maine citizens have increased their investment four-fold in their public schools since 1960; from approximately $1,870 per pupil in today's dollars to over $8,000 per student in 2002-03. At present, Maine spends approximately $900 more per student than the national average. And this investment has paid off. Year in and year out, Maine's 4th and 8th graders score in the top five in the country on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). Maine has one of the most favorable teacher-pupil ratios in the country; it ranks 11th best in the country in terms of the high school graduation rate, and 7th highest in the country in how well Maine prepares students for college. But as Maine citizens enter the new century, they are faced with significant challenges. Thus, they must address these challenges if they are to insure that all their children receive a quality K-12 education. They must find more efficient ways to operate their public school system to ensure equity of education opportunities for all of Maine's youth. Among the emerging proposals for resolving these and related issues is the idea that more economic efficiencies and greater education opportunities for students may be found through further regionalizing of educational services. This study examined the question of whether some degree of consolidation of school districts or regionalization of functions might have the potential to yield reductions in educational costs without sacrificing educational quality. It reports the results of a study of the relationships in Maine school districts between district size, expenditures, and outcomes. (Contains 4 tables.)


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