January 11, 2013

Bill Nemitz: LePage's charges on charters off the charts

By Bill Nemitz bnemitz@pressherald.com

(Continued from page 1)


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LePage blasts charter school commission, teachers union

"The Review Team feels it is not a sound plan to balance a budget on grant funds that have not been awarded and are not in hand," noted the denial.

What, we can only wonder, was Plan B? Lottery tickets?

In short, the Charter School Commission had ample reason to tell the four unsuccessful applicants to go back to the drawing board. And LePage, had he stopped sputtering long enough to do a little homework, might now understand that.

He might also have learned that the commission has met 41 times since late 2011.

And that its members routinely log as many as 40 hours a week poring over thousands of pages of documentation because, as Chairwoman LaPoint put it, "we feel proud of the work we've done. We know we're doing a good job and we want to see it through."

And that for all their effort, the commissioners receive nary a nickel. LaPoint, in fact, doesn't even put in for travel reimbursements.

"I would be more than happy at any time to have sat down with the governor and explain to him where we were, what we've been doing, how it's playing out," said LaPoint. "But I've never been given that opportunity."

Of course she hasn't. That would require LePage to actually listen, maybe do a little reading, maybe reflect on the pure idiocy of calling in the media and telling a duly appointed arm of state government to "please go away."

"We're not going away," promised LaPoint, who (like her fellow members) serves at the pleasure of the Maine Board of Education. "We're excited about our work."

For which all of Maine should be grateful.

During his tantrum on Wednesday -- he actually performed a sequel to make sure the entire State House press corps got his message -- LePage recycled his oft-repeated tale of how he went to parochial school while growing up in hardscrabble Lewiston and has the scarred knuckles to prove it.

I'll bet it had something to do with missing homework.

And that LePage, for all his bluster about the value of a good education, still has a lot to learn. 

Columnist Bill Nemitz can be contacted at 791-6323 or at:



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