For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - State Representative Jonathan Kinney (R-Limington) has introduced a bill to help Regional School Unit (RSU) 72 and potentially other schools like it to obtain a fair level of funding from the state government for the construction of "basic" schoolsschools that meet state Department of Education architectural guidelines.
LR 2283, "An Act To Limit Local Contributions to School Construction," was inspired by a recent and much-publicized problem faced by RSU 72, which is comprised of Brownfield, Denmark, Fryeburg, Lovell, Stoneham, Stow, and Sweden.
The district was told that the construction of the new elementary school adjoining Molly Ockett Middle School would be 100 percent covered by the state. Two years and $200,000 in planning costs later, however, the state Department of Education (DOE) informed the district that the towns would be responsible for nearly 35 percent of the cost of the project, or roughly $9 million.
"The RSU 72 board was understandably outraged by this," said Rep. Kinney. "The state went back on its word about the school construction costs and that really caught us off guard. If we don't solve this problem, local property tax payers will be devastated."
Kinney's bill would cap school districts' share of the cost of constructing basic schools at 10 percent.
"Working on this school funding issue will be one of my top priorities in the upcoming session which begins in January," added Rep. Kinney. "We have to prevent property tax payers from getting hurt."
Rep. Kinney is serving his first term representing Baldwin, Cornish, Denmark, Limington, and Sebago in the Maine House. He serves on the legislature's Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, and can be reached at email@example.com.
[Photo caption: Rep. Jonathan Kinney (R-Limington)]
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793