AUGUSTA — A bill to allow Maine’s cities and towns to redo their schools’ budgets to spend unexpected state funds without voter approval has failed in the Maine House.

The Democratic-controlled House voted 97-54 Tuesday. The bill required a two-thirds majority vote because it would take effect immediately.

With the late passage of the $6.3 billion state budget, many school districts will get more money than they originally thought. But current law says schools cannot use that extra money unless residents vote on a new school budget.

Supporters of the bill say holding another vote will be costly. Portland Mayor Michael Brennan has said it could cost the city as much as $15,000 to hold another vote.

But critics say voters should have a say in how the extra money is spent.


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