Home >MSMA News >School leaders respond to Governor’s regional incentive grants – January 4, 2017
School leaders respond to Governor’s regional incentive grants – January 4, 2017
The Maine School Boards Association and Maine School Superintendents Association responded to Gov. LePage’s plan to offer incentive grants to encourage regional cooperation, saying such a plan could support and expand sharing that already is going on today.
“We are very interested to see the details of the governor’s proposal. Forced school consolidation isn’t the answer, but incentives to share regionally have great promise,” said Maine School Superintendents Association President Steve Bailey. “There already are regional efforts underway, and we will work with the governor to come up with proposals that makes sense.”
Maine School Boards Association President Becky Fles said the governor’s effort may dovetail nicely with legislation MSBA called for at its Delegate Assembly to make it easier for school districts to share.
“The bill is titled An Act to Remove Barriers to School Unit Collaboration, Cooperation and Innovation, and it was overwhelmingly supported by the delegates representing school boards from across the state,” Fles said. “We all have the same goal in mind, which is to use our limited resources in the best interest of all our students.”
Gov. LePage signed an executive order that was posted on Tuesday that directs the Maine Department of Education to take three main steps:
— Propose legislation in 2017 that would establish “regional education service agencies to remove barriers and promote the sharing of educational programs and services” and develop an application for “integrated regional school models.”
— Propose legislation to issue a bond to “cover debt service for innovative construction of integrated regional school models.”
— Identify up to $3 million in “unused” General Purpose Aid to establish a competitive process to award it to school districts to use for upfront costs of efforts promoting “economic efficiencies within and across schools and districts that enhance the delivery of educational services for the benefit of Maine students.”