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Rier nominated to serve on Charter Commission – August 8, 2016

Former Education Commissioner and school funding expert, Jim Rier, has been nominated to serve on the Maine Charter School Commission.

Rier, who was in attendance at the last commission meeting, was nominated by the State Board of Education and must be interviewed by the Education Committee before he can officially be appointed. There are no committee meetings scheduled at this time.

The commission is clearly interested in Rier’s financial expertise as it moves forward with monitoring the now seven charter schools already in operation; the additional two that are expected to open in the fall; and, the last charter school that has yet to be approved under a statewide cap of 10 that runs through 2021.

At the Aug. 2 meeting of the commission, the discussion was raised whether charter schools could apply for funding under the state’s School Revolving Renovation Fund for projects related to health and safety; building systems; energy and water conservation; and learning space upgrades.

Rier underscored a memo from the department’s facilities coordinator that said charter schools currently don’t meet the requirements under law to participate in the fund, including the ability to bond.

To make them eligible would require a change in statute that regulates charters in Maine.

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