November 17, 2019
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Bill that would make it easier for school districts to spend recently added state aid fails

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
State Rep. Matthea Daughtry, D-Brunswick, speaks in favor of LD1566 on the floor of the House Tuesday. The bill did not pass.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill designed to help school districts accept additional dollars allocated by the Legislature last month died Tuesday. The bill failed to gain the two-thirds House and Senate majority votes it needed for passage.

LD 1566 would have affected local school districts that had approved their budgets for the next year before the Legislature enacted a $6.3 billion budget bill that raised subsidies for public schools by about $30 million overall. The bill, which applied only to the 2013-14 fiscal year, would have let school boards accept the extra money without holding a second budget validation vote, as is now required by law.

Tuesday’s 97-54 House vote reflected unanimous support from Democrats and independents in that chamber. Some Republicans also supported the bill, but not enough to reach the two-thirds majority required for passage as an emergency measure.

The bill died when the Senate also failed to muster two-thirds support.

“LD 1566 is a tool to allow schools to use those funds,” said Rep. Matthea Daughtry, D-Brunswick, who is a member of the Legislature’s Education Committee. “This is about local control.”

But some disagreed. Rep. Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea, voted against the bill in the name of transparency.

“Taxpayers supporting our schools should absolutely have a word on how money is spent on education,” she said. “I do not support this bill.”

Rep. Joyce Maker, R-Calais, agreed with Sanderson.

“To just not have a vote at the end just does not seem right to me,” she said.

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