Educational Service Districts in Maine: Western Maine Educational Collaborative

Read the full report | In January, The Maine Heritage Policy Center released a Maine View report, Education Service Districts: Achieving school administrative cost savings while protecting local control and parental involvement, which called for the creation of regional Educational Service Districts as the means of generating statewide cost savings in K-12 educational administration. As Maine’s policymakers continue debating the various school district consolidation proposals before the 123rd Legislature, it should be recognized that many such educational collaboratives already exist in Maine, and they provide models for the state to embrace in its effort for school reform. One such model may be found in the hills of western Maine with the Western Maine Educational Collaborative.

The Western Maine Educational Collaborative

districts, the Western Maine Educational Collaborative (WMEC) was formed. According to WMEC documents, the collaborative “represents eleven school systems housed in 33 communities in four counties that educate 13,000 students in 45 different school buildings.” The collaborative established as its mission to “build a self-sustaining regional collaborative that meets the needs of the organization while also meeting the needs of the individual members.”

Though operating for only a few months, the collaborative put into place a number of regional service delivery initiatives, already saved member school units money, and established itself as an example for how the state might move toward regionalization of education services using collaborative bodies.