AUGUSTA — Governor John Baldacci ended speculation June 19 about his stance on a bill to delay penalties for towns that haven’t complied with school consolidation requirements for one year by signing the measure into law.
“Our intention has never been to punish school districts,” said Baldacci in a prepared statement. “After careful consideration, I have decided to sign this legislation, which will delay penalties for one year for school districts that have not reorganized. This delay will give those districts working in good faith toward restructuring time to complete their work.”
Baldacci, who in the past has been a strong proponent of the penalties, said his support for the overall school consolidation effort has not wavered.
The Governor said he has asked Education Commissioner Susan Gendron to continue helping school districts that have not yet complied with the law. Those districts account for about 12 percent of all of Maine’s students, according to Baldacci.