WERU News Report 5/3/11

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

The Maine legislature took up the controversial issue of school vouchers yesterday, in a public hearing before the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs. LD 250 “An Act To Permit Tuition Subsidies by Municipalities” would allow municipalities to give subsidies from their general funds to parents to reimburse them for part or all of the tuition the parents paid to private schools that are precluded from receiving tuition funding from the State– including religious schools.
Supporters of the bill cite a recent situation on Swans Island, in which the town reportedly chose to allocate municipal funds for parents who wanted their children to attend private, religious schools, but the plan was overturned when it was determined to be in violation of state law. Opponents of the law have concerns about violations of separation of church and state, and about taxpayer dollars being used to fund un-regulated schools. Today we’ll hear some of the testimony from both sides at yesterday’s public hearing. Senator Brian D. Langley, Republican of Hancock County, the Comittee Co Chair, facilitated