AUGUSTA, Maine – A state official says about half of Maine’s students attend schools in newly consolidated districts.

A school consolidation law, passed in 2007, requires districts to form regional school units to reduce administrative costs and save taxpayers millions of dollars. The law envisions reducing Maine’s school districts from 290 to about 80.

The state Education Department’s finance director, Jim Rier, told legislators that consolidation plans already approved account for nearly 103,000 students, or 52 percent of the total number of students.

Rier told the Appropriations Committee that the department has approved six reorganization plans and 39 alternative plans.