A Senate committee got surprising news Wednesday at the end of a grueling day spent slogging through the details of the bill that sets education tax rates: A loophole in state law allows newly merged districts to jack up their spending without a corresponding boost in their taxes.
A representative of the Agency of Education told the Senate Finance Committee about the quirk in a 2010 school district merger statute.
“Seven or eight months ago, we realized it is possible for a new entity following the law strictly to increase its spending tremendously the first year,” said Brad James, finance manager for the agency.
“They can only increase their tax rates by 5 percent. So who pays? Everybody else in the state.”
VERNON >> School Board members voted to leave the Act 46 Study Committee formed within the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union.
"We looked at this as being harmful to the towns on many levels," said Mike Hebert, Vernon Elementary School Board chairman and state representative. "We looked at it and consulted with the Select Board and they're standing firm with the School Board on this."
On Monday night, the School Board went into executive session. According to unapproved minutes, the board cited "confidential attorney-client communication made for purposes of providing professional legal services to the district with regard to the Act 46 Study Committee and potential contracts where the board finds that premature public knowledge would place the district at a substantial disadvantage."
The Select Board was invited to join the executive session and no action wa...
A Maine Sunday Telegram analysis shows that a 5-year-old law overpromised results for some districts, and towns are opting out of the regional systems in search of local control.
Regional School Unit 23 had a rocky marriage right from the start.
For more than two years, the three member communities in York County were gripped by an emotional debate about local control, finances and the future of the district.
In the end, Saco and Dayton each decided to go it alone. Old Orchard Beach is now the sole member of RSU 23, a misnomer that stands as a reminder of the communities’ failed attempt to share resources and cut administrative costs under Maine’s sweeping 2007 school consolidation law.
An analysis by the Maine Sunday Telegram five years after the law took effect found that combined districts did achieve modest administrative savings, but that the average distri...
I read Jim’s last post on Tuesday evening, right before heading over to the Act 46 meeting at Barrett Hall. Jim nailed it regarding the importance of community support for education. Our schools work because our communities are committed to and engaged in their success. We serve on school boards and PTAs. We hold bake sales. We coach sports teams and robotics clubs. We volunteer and vote. We want what’s best for our students.
Our local boards have put in a staggering amount of work charting a course through Act 46 that will work for our schools. Ironically, their efforts actually illustrate what could be sacrificed if these same boards were to be subsumed by a regional school board. Would local support for education erode as accountability was dispersed across a multi-town district? How would voters react when called upon to support schoo...