The Maine House, Senate and governor’s office may have changed hands, but many of the state’s problems haven’t changed.

Maine still has too many school districts, and three years after the passage of the school consolidation law, there are 179 districts, instead of the 80 that were promised.

The law has come under fire since it was first passed and has survived numerous attempts to repeal or limit it, including a statewide vote last year.

The law was the major initiative of Gov. Baldacci’s second term, but making it work is a good policy initiative for Republicans because, despite its flaws, it is based on sound public policy: Maine could save money by consolidating administrative units, making more money available for teaching and learning without asking more from taxpayers.

Unfortunately, the savings are not always realized at the district level, at least not in the short run. That’s why some rural districts think they are better off paying penalties for not complying with the law than biting the bullet to consolidate.

The task for the new Legislature should be finding a way to make consolidation work, not tear it down.

State money will be no easier to come by next year, and every effort should be made not to waste it.