PORTLAND (AP) – Maine’s largest city is taking a pass on $19.6 million from the Maine Department of Education to build a new elementary school.

The City Council stunned Superintendent Jeanne Whynot-Vickers by coming one vote short Monday night of what was needed to borrow money that ultimately would be reimbursed by the state. The vote effectively ended years of study and debate over whether century-old Clifford Elementary School should be closed or renovated.

Mayor Edward Suslovic and two others who voted against the bill faulted the process and the school district’s lack of a comprehensive facilities plan.

Whynot-Vickers says she’s disappointed that the council is willing to give up state funding for a project “that is urgently needed.”

Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

AP-ES-04-08-08 1408EDT

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