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Politics

LePage Signs Order to Direct Funds for School Consolidation

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage has signed an executive order to direct state funds to school consolidation efforts at a time of rising education costs and declining student enrollments.
 
LePage's order notes Maine's public school expenditures increased to $2.2 billion in the fiscal year that ended 2015. LePage said that's an almost $480 million increase over the past decade even though student enrollment decreased by 23,000.
 
The governor says Maine school units to consolidate and regionalize will decrease costs and improve education.
 
 The order directs the Department of Education to identify taxpayer funds that haven't been dispersed yet and distribute the money to schools this school year through a competitive bidding process.
 
LePage also directed the department to propose a bill authorizing a bond covering debt service for regionalization projects.