The idea of abolishing 600 school districts and replacing them with one for each county has faded in favor of creating "super" county superintendents to oversee local school officials and spending, members of a committee studying the issue said.
Another of the more radical ideas considered by the Committee on Government Consolidation and Shared Services -- the creation of a state board that would identify which towns and school districts should merge -- remained unsettled as legislators debated how to give voters the final say.
Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex), the committee chairman, also said a proposal to shift fire district elections and budget votes from a Saturday in February to the November general election is being crushed under heavy lobbying by firefighters.
"Would you believe the most controversial idea is shifting the fire district elections?" Smith said. "On one hand there is more accountability on fire budgets, on the other hand the argument is let the firefighters do their thing. It's turning into a bit of a bear."
A proposal to shift school board elections and budget votes from April to November will be one of the recommendations.
So, let's see: instead of consolidating school districts to save money, we'll add another layer of bureaucracy on top of the 600+ that we already have! And, since the firefighters don't want to give up their fiefdom and risk accountability on their budgets, we'll let them keep their own separate elections, regardless of the expense- even while we combine the others.
I want to hear the committee's explanation on exactly how this will lower my property taxes. Maybe that will be what we hear on Wednesday?