In episode #30 of acclaimed video series “Travels With Charlie,” host Charlie Papillo talks with Newbury school board members Paul Jewett and Marvin Harrison about how the Act 46 forced merger of four school districts has worked – or, more often, not worked.
“Isn’t bringing down the cost of education a good goal?”Papillo asked.
“Sure. But it didn’t happen here,” Paul Jewett said. “What happened was that we went from 14 school board members to four….we have four people managing a $16 million school district.” That’s an unrealistic expectation, Jewett said.
Act 46 also has meant loss of truly local representation, “We lost the ability to change quickly….we used to be able to put people into a room and say, ‘let’s fix it.’ And now that’s gone,” Harrison said.
Also, centralization means that people need to travel further to get services. And it means more bureaucracy, Harrison said. “Meanwhile, it’s been two years now and none of the things promised to us by Act 46 have come to fruition.”
Papillo then handed Harrison a magic wand and asked him to make a wish about Act 46. “I wish there would be a special session at the State House and everyone would admit they made a mistake,” he said with a laugh.
To see more “Travels with Charlie” episodes, go to TNR Video Series.