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The Coastal Packet

The longtime national journal, Progressive Review, has moved its headquarters from Washington DC to Freeport, Maine, where its editor, Sam Smith, has long ties. This is a local edition dealing with Maine news and progressive politics.

3/16/10

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE SAYS NO TO PRIVATE TAKEOVER OF PUBLIC EUDUCATION

KENNEBEC JOURNAL - A legislative committee has once again turned back a bid to allow charter schools in Maine, and instead opted for a more measured proposal to allow "innovative" schools in existing districts.

Maine is one of 11 states that don't allow charter schools, which are heavily favored by the Obama administration.

"We haven't done a great job of promoting what we have the ability to do right now," said Sen. Elizabeth Schneider, D-Orono.

The innovative-schools bill "will, I think, raise the level of knowledge out there that there are potential resources and ways to incorporate (innovation) into the infrastructure that we have," she said.

That can be done without jeopardizing funds for local school districts, said Rep. Stephen Lovejoy, D-Portland.

"Where we are right now is, we're looking at another major drop in education funding," he said. "I would be very reluctant to do something that spreads dollars out even more."

The innovative schools allowed in the committee-approved measure would have more autonomy than their traditional counterparts over budgets, curriculum, staff assignments and scheduling. The schools, however, would still be district-run and subject to the same collective bargaining agreements as other district schools.

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