Anyone else catch the article in the November, 2008 issue of Governing regarding a push in some states to cut back on the quantities of local governments within their borders?
By JOSH GOODMAN
States are pushing localities to consolidate — and localities are pushing back.
Leon Duff retired as a Maine school superintendent in 2001, but not for good. In the seven years since, he's been called back into school administration again and again. Most recently, when the superintendent in Monmouth had to step down for health reasons, Duff, now 73, took the job — reluctantly. "I've retired three times," he says. "Don't you think I'd learn?"
As it happened, though, Duff had stumbled into the perfect job for his semi-retirement. In most of the country, a superintendent of schools faces marathon hours of frenetic work. In much of Maine, including Monmouth, it's a part-time job. Duff works a couple of days a week.
The reason is simple enough: Duff oversees only three schools. All told, those schools — kindergarten through 12th grade — teach roughly 750 students. As a result, there's only so much work for a superintendent to do.
That's all about to change. Monmouth is merging with four other school districts. The Maine legislature, at the urging of Governor John Baldacci, last year approved a law that's heralded as the most significant overhaul of Maine's public schools in 50 years. The law will force each district to include at least 2,500 students, except in isolated areas, where the minimum will be 1,000. Districts that don't meet those requirements will have to consolidate or face cuts in state aid. The goal is to reduce Maine's 290 school administrative units to 80 or fewer."
(see link for rest of article)
It also mentions a push in Indiana to eliminate their townships (1008 of them), something that Wisconsin would also be very wise to do (we have over 1900 of them!) to help close a $4G+ state budget shortfall this upcoming biennium.