AUGUSTA — The Maine House today rejected a bill that would have allowed religious schools to receive public tuition dollars.

The vote was 84-59 and there was no debate.

Gov. Paul LePage proposed the measure as one of four major education bills. Supporters said it was a way to give students more choice as long as the religious schools met standards that apply to public schools.

Religious schools have been barred from receiving public funding since 1981. If the bill had passed, communities with school choice would pay tuition, up to a state-defined maximum, for resident students who attend participating religious schools.

The bill, LD 1866, now heads to the Senate for consideration.