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Legislative Update from May 17th, 2023 - Critical School Budget Items

These bills would allow your school boards to ram through their budgets and make it very difficult for people to reject them. Even though the referenda process generally results in budget approval, the mere fact that the budget has to go through a voting process for approval acts as a restraint on the budget a school board would come up with. This would remove any incentive for school boards to rein in their budgets. Everybody – please forward to anyone else who may care. LD 1370 - An Act to Simplify the School Budget Validation Process - Rep Mastraccio of Sanford, co sponsored by Millett of Cape Elizabeth - Every 3 years, voters in a school district must decide to continue the budget referendum process and the result lasts for 3 years. A vote to reinstate the budget validation referendum may be made by either a majority vote of the school board or a written petition filed with the school board by at least 25% of the voters in the last gubernatorial election. The vote on the referendum itself is not considered valid unless the number of voters voting on the referendum is equal to or greater than 25% of the number of voters in the last gubernatorial election. If the number of voters is less than that, the budget is considered to be approved (even if 90% of the votes are to not approve the budget). LD 1748 - An Act to Reform the School Budget Referendum Process by Limiting the Circumstances in which Referenda Occur - Rep Abdi of Lewiston - Under this bill, a school budget validation referendum is only required if a written petition, signed by at least of the number of voters voting in the last gubernatorial election in the municipalities in the school administrative unit, is filed with the unit's school board within 30 days of the approval of the budget at a budget meeting. Public Hearing May 2, WS May 22 10:00 These two bills are pending in the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs, and the public hearing on these bills has already taken place – on May 2, but its not to late to make your views known. The Work Session is May 22, and testimonies may be submitted before then. The sooner the better. ASAP. Today. The committee clerk when he or she summarizes the testimonial response for the committee, will include submissions filed after the public hearing and before the work session. To submit testimony, go to choose public hearing choose a committee – Education and Cultural Affairs choose May 2 2023 1:00 choose LD 1370 follow the prompts repeat the process for LD 1748.

Maine Policy Institute has an easy way to submit testimony also – you can use the following link:

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