Maine To Let Local Officials Block Charter Schools

Swell

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AUGUSTA — Senate Democrats on Monday passed a bill designed to give local communities more input and control over whether charter schools should be approved, but the measure still faces hurdles.

"As we move forward on implementing charter schools in Maine, it is critical that communities have a voice and that future charter school applicants communicate from day one," said Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland, the bill's sponsor.

The bill as written would require that any group or organization that files an application to the Maine Charter School Commission must hold at least three public hearings in the affected region and would then be subjected to a vote. The legislation also would require the education commissioner to review current funding laws and rules for public charter schools and to submit proposed legislation that provides options for funding public charter schools, including but not limited to establishing a new General Fund program account to pay for public charter schools.