Maine House rejects LePage’s bill to fund religious schools

Lawmakers vote 84-59 against public spending for private religious schools

March 29, 2012

AUGUSTA – The Maine House rejected Governor Paul LePage’s bill to use public funds for private religious schools today in a vote of 84-59.

Republicans joined Democrats in voting against the measure, which would have undercut public education.

“Today’s vote was a victory for Maine’s public schools and families,” said Rep. Dick Wagner, D-Lewiston, the Democratic lead on the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. “Public tax dollars should not be used to send some children to private religious schools.” LePage’s bill, LD 1866, “An Act to Remove Inequity in Student Access to Certain School,” would have created a voucher system redistributing taxpayer dollars for public education to religious schools.

“Our public schools are already struggling with scarce resources,” said Rep. Mary Nelson, D-Falmouth, who also serves on the committee. “We should be using our taxpayer dollars to improve our public schools for all of our students.”

The Education committee voted 10-3 against the governor’s bill earlier this month. The measure was strongly opposed during the public hearing.

The measure faces more votes in the state Senate.


Jodi Quintero [Wagner, Nelson], 287-1488, c. 841-6279