Gov. Paul LePage pitches plan to consolidate school districts

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Gov. Paul LePage

AUGUSTA — Maine’s Republican governor says the answer to controlling increasing education costs is cutting administration and regionalizing school districts.

Gov. Paul LePage told reporters Tuesday that consolidating schools means people will have to lose their jobs.

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The governor is backing legislation that would create up to 12 regional centers providing services like payroll, transportation, nutrition and professional development at a lower cost.

LePage wants to shift more costs to communities and says local school districts can pay for superintendents.

The governor’s $6.8 billion budget proposal includes about $991 million for public schools, a $20 million drop from this year.

LePage also said he wants a statewide standard for special education, which he said is a factor in increasing costs.

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