|The Legislature Wednesday failed to pass the needed authorization that would have allowed them to continue meeting after their designated adjournment date, leaving a number of bills dealing with public education unresolved.
Key among them is L.D. 1666, where a majority on the Education Committee voted to establish an optional graduation system that would allow districts to choose between proficiency-based diplomas, which is current law, and the old system of graduation based on course credits and seat time. The minority report on L.D. 1666 would give districts an additional year to move toward proficiency-based diplomas and also would establish teacher-centered stakeholder groups to guide implementation with support from the Department of Education.
Opponents of an optional diploma system say it abandons the goal of equity of opportunity for all children regardless of where they live and allows Maine’s diploma to mean different things based on zip code. (Click here to read Bangor Daily editorial.)
Proponents say the choice option will allow districts to hold onto what some in their communities say they want.
Another bill, L.D. 1869, An Act To Establish the Total Cost of Education and the State and Local Contributions to Education for Fiscal Year 2018-19 and To Provide That Employees of School Management and Leadership Centers Are Eligible To Participate in the Maine Public Employees Retirement System, also is in limbo.
The bill, which officially establishes the required local mill rate, was tabled in the Senate when the Legislature left early Thursday morning.
Outside of education, legislators also have yet to pass a bill dealing with tax conformity with the federal government – a task made more urgent given the recent changes to the federal tax code.
At this time, it is unclear when or if legislators will be able to vote on remaining bills. MSMA will issue updates to school board members and superintendents when information becomes available.