Society Explores School Consolidation

MOUNT DESERT — Mount Desert Island Historical Society and Tremont Historical Society will jointly present a conversation about the history of school consolidation in the community on Tuesday, April 28. “School Consolidation on MDI: A Panel Discussion of This Controversy’s History and the Lessons Learned” will begin at 7 p.m. in the Somesville Firehouse.

In the first century of its settlement, nearly every village on Mount Desert Island had its own school. As populations shifted – some thriving, others declining – there was often controversy about sending children to another village’s school.

Debates over school closings continued through the 20th century. Opinion about the effects of school closings on individual towns became especially heated in the 1950s and 1960s as the consolidation of all island high schools was proposed. While the academic effects were certainly debated, the possible effects on sports, clubs and social activities were just as controversial.

In recent years, many young families are finding it even more difficult to afford homes on the island, putting in question the future enrollments in elementary schools.

The panelists will share their thoughts on the effects of consolidation on children, teachers, families, villages and towns.

There is no charge to attend the program, although donations will be welcomed. For information, call 276-9323.

For more education news, pick up a copy of the Mount Desert Islander.


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