Tuesday, May 21, 2013
(Continued from page 1)
In this file photo, a number of Ritalin SR pills. City leaders want to change Maine law to allow mail-order prescription drug purchases from Canada – a practice that saved the city $3.2 million over an eight-year period before the state shut it down this fall.
Courtesy of Wikipedia
Portland Mayor Michael Brennan
Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer
The lost subsidies, including transportation funding, could cost the district more than $535,000 a year, according to the school department's estimate.
Brennan said he continues to oppose charter schools, but the change proposed by Alfond would "have a very positive financial effect on the city of Portland."
David Connerty-Marin, spokesman for the Department of Education, said the magnet school in Limestone is funded through the state's kindergarten-through-12th-grade funding program. Putting charter schools in that category would shift costs from city residents to residents throughout the state, he said.
Portland's other priorities include:
• State funding to rebuild Hall Elementary School and improve older elementary schools. The city may move forward on its own, which could disqualify it from state support.
• Securing $22 million to $25 million to build a transportation hub with structured parking on Thompson's Point, which is poised for a $100 million development, including an arena, offices, restaurants, a hotel and a sports medicine lab.
• Legislation to create the Southern Maine Regional Transportation Authority, which could eventually merge with Metro, South Portland Bus, Shuttlebus Zoom and other transportation agencies.
• A regional lodging and/or meals tax.
After the meeting, Sen. Anne Haskell, D-Portland, said the city's legislative priorities are consistent with what she has heard in the past, except for the prescription drug and charter school issues.
While some initiatives -- such as a local option sales tax -- have failed in the past and will likely encounter resistance in the upcoming session, Haskell said a new coalition of mayors from cities around Maine could play a major role in helping advance Portland's priorities.
"The value of the Mayor's Coalition cannot be underestimated," she said.
Staff Writer Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at: