May 7, 2012

Key education legislation still awaiting action

By Susan McMillan
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

The least controversial of LePage's education bills passed both chambers of the Legislature easily. It would require that regional career and technical education centers and the school districts they serve create calendars that have no more than five dissimilar days, a reduction from nine days.

The Maine Community College System, University of Maine System and Maine Maritime Academy also would have to adopt a process to evaluate career and technical education programs to determine how much college credit to award based on a student's completion of a program.

The fiscal note predicts "moderate, statewide" costs for school districts.

L.D. 1866: Public funding for religious schools

Status: Failed to pass

The bill from LePage proposed repealing Maine's prohibition on public funding for religious schools, which has been in place since 1981. Students living in communities with school choice would have been able to enroll in sectarian religious schools and have their home district pay a portion of the tuition, up to a state-defined maximum, as long as the religious school met certain standards.

L.D. 1866 was opposed by a majority of the Education and Cultural Affairs committee and failed votes in both the House and Senate. Opponents were concerned that the bill would erode separation of church and state, divert funding from public schools and not ensure equal access for students.

Susan McMillan -- 621-5645

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