Maine Emergency School Maintenance Problems, Question No. 3 (1990)

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The Maine Emergency School Maintenance Problems Bond Issue, also known as Question No. 3, was on the November 6, 1990 ballot in Maine as a legislatively-referred bond question, where it was approved.[1] The measure issued $5 million in bonds for the correction of major emergency maintenance problems in public schools. A large portion of this money was for the removal of aging subterranean oil tanks that had been deemed an environmental hazard. Other projects included rebuilding sections of schools, disrupted by the removal of hazardous materials and roof replacements.[2]


State and federal mandates had called for the removal of hazardous underground oil tanks, asbestos removal and other hazardous materials removals.[2] The state had previously issued bonds for such projects. In 1987 an issue of $6 million in bonds was made for the detection and removal of asbestos hazards in state facilities and public schools. In 1989, an issue of $12 million in bonds was made for the detection and removal of asbestos and other health-related indoor air quality hazards in state facilities and public schools, as well as the removal of hazardous chemicals from public schools. Underground oil storage tank removal projects also received bond issues of $3 million in 1987.[1]

Election results

Maine Question No. 3 (1990)
Approveda Yes 270,636 53.93%

Election results via: Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library, Votes on Maine Bond Issues, 1951-

Text of measure

The language appeared on the ballot as:[2]

Do you favor a $5 million bond issue for the correction of major maintenance problems of an emergency nature in public schools? (Total estimated debt service of $5,960,000 of which the principal is $5 million and estimated at 6.40 percent of five years is $960,000). [3]


  • Dan Calderwood, associate executive director of the Maine School Management Association

Dan Calderwood, who helped write the measure, described it as a stop-gap. He said that nearly every school in Maine was affected by federal and state mandates for underground oil-tank removal. He stated,

The state and Federal governments mandated their removal and, as it is now, local taxpayers have no choice but to use property taxes to do it. [3]

—Dan Calderwood [2]


Some opposed the measure because it was using taxpayer money for maintenance repairs.[2]

Path to the ballot

A legislative bill was submitted in the spring of 1989 that would have allowed for higher reimbursements to schools for the mandated maintenance projects. The bill was cut during budget negotiations. This bond measure was offered as a partial replacement for that legislation.[2]

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