Education Committee to debate school budget approval procedures on Thursday

Education Committee to debate school budget approval procedures on Thursday

January 30, 2010 Posted by Maine Heritage Policy Center - No Comments

As we reported earlier this week, the Education Committee killed LD 1739, a bill which would have eliminated the budget approval process. They are, however, considering getting rid of budget validation through a second bill, LD 570.

LD 570, if you look it up online, has no text whatsoever at this point, it is simply a bill title for the committee to use to create its own legislation. The idea is that the Committee will put all the fixes to the district consolidation law that it wants into one bill and pass that bill rather that pass a whole bunch of smaller bills.

The problem is that LD 570 will never get a public hearing. Once the committee decides on the content of the bill and passes it out of the committee, it goes directly to the full House and Senate.

For those of us interested in preserving budget validation, then, the time is now to start putting significant pressure on the education committee.  According to the committee agenda sent out on Friday, the committee intends to debate and perhaps decide the changes to school budget procedures that it intends to include in LD 570 during its work session on the bill beginning at 1pm on Thursday, February 4th. It is impossible to say what the committee will decide at that time, but those of us interested in preserving our right to vote on school budgets need to let them know what we think right away.

Last weekend, supporters of the school budget validation process were so effective at getting their message out that the sponsor of LD 1739 begged the committee to kill it. With the work session on LD 570 coming up next week, the committee needs to get the same treatment.

A list of education committee members can be found here. Let them know, right away, how important it is to have a referendum vote on school budgets. Remember, in emails that went back and forth between committee members last fall, it was clear that budget validation was something many of them do not support.

If you disagree, they need to hear about it as soon as possible.