School bond and tax elections in Maine

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School bond and tax elections in Maine happen under one circumstance:
  • To adopt a regional school district or school administrative unit's budget
  • To approve a bond issue for a regional school district, or school administrative unit.

Laws affecting school finance

Maine budget referendum

Under Maine law, a regional school district or administrative school unit is required to hold a referendum to adopt a district's budget.[1] Maine is one of three states to do so joining Connecticut and New Jersey. For School Administrative units, this is done on an annual basis.[1] Budget referendums are voted on a triennial basis (every three years) by the regional school district's voters, the election is to consider if the same budget process continues for another three years. A vote to disallow the budget requires the school district to come up with a new process on the budget.[2] This is the same too for school administrative units on a annual basis.

If a budget referendum is not approved, then a new budget must be approved by the Regional Board of Education within 30 days after the Maine Commissioner of Education notifies how much state aid will be allocated for the ensuing year.[3] For School Administrative units, a hearing must be done within 10 days of the election in which a new budget is adopted and put up for voter reconsideration.[4]

Maine bond issue law

A ballot measure is required under Maine law for any issuance of bonds or notes for school construction projects. This goes for both Regional School Districts and School Administrative units. Bond issues in Maine must have a 25 year maturity date and cannot be sold below normal par value, a bond can be sold at or above normal par value.[5] [6]

Bond issues can be used for in Maine:

  • On-site additions to existing schools.
  • Building new school facilities.
  • Cost of land and site acquisitions.
  • Restoration of facilities.
  • Necessary off-site construction that is allowed by the Maine Commissioner of Education. [7]

Bonds for regional school districts and school administrative units cannot exceed 10 percent of the district's total debt valuation.[8] [9]

Conduct of bond election, rules, limitations

Authority conducting elections

The Regional Board of Education conducts all elections involving budget referendums.[10]

Election dates

The referendum must be held for budget approval within fourteen days before the actual budget adoption meeting by a regional school board. An election cannot be held on a Sunday.[11] For school administrative units, a budget election must be done three days before the hearing.[12] There are no restrictions on when bond elections can be held.

Needed majority

A simple majority vote is needed to approve a election involving a bond issue in the State of Maine.[13]

Special elections

A election that previously failed and is up for re-consideration is a special election. If any election wants to be re-considered a petition of ten percent of the district's voters who voted in the last Governor's elections must have a petition submitted within seven days. A special election must be held within 60 days after the reconsideration petition is approved.[14]

Wording of measures

This is the following ballot measure format for regional school district budget elections:

Do you favor approving the (name of regional school unit/school administrative unit) budget for the upcoming school year that was adopted at the latest (name of regional school unit) budget meeting?

Required notice of bond election

For elections involving regional school districts, a 30 day warrant must be approved 30 days before the election.[17] School Administrative units have citizen initiated referendums on demand with no minimum notice requirements.[18]

See also

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Maine Legislature" Maine School Finance Law(Referenced Statute 20A-§1305-B Maine Code)
  2. "Maine Legislature" Maine School Finance Law(Referenced Statute 20-A§1486(2) Maine Statutes)
  3. "Maine Legislature" Maine School Finance Law(Referenced Statute 20-A§1487 Maine Statutes)
  4. "Maine Legislature" Maine School Finance Law(Referenced Statute 20A-§1305-B(5)Maine Code)
  5. "Maine Legislature" Maine Statutes(Referenced Section 20A-§1311(2)(A)-(C) Maine Statutes)
  6. "Maine Legislature" Maine Statutes(Referenced Section 20A-§1490(2)(A)-(C) Maine Statutes)
  7. "Maine Legislature" Maine Statutes(Referenced Section 20A-§15901(4) Maine Statutes)
  8. "Maine Legislature" Maine Statutes(Referenced Section 20A-§15901(6) Maine Statutes)
  9. "Maine Legislature" Maine Statutes(Referenced Section 20A-§1311(6) Maine Statutes)
  10. "Maine Legislature" Maine School Finance Law(Referenced Statute 20-A§1503 Maine Statutes)
  11. "Maine Legislature" Maine School Finance Law(Referenced Statute 20-A§1486(2) Maine Statutes)
  12. "Maine Legislature" Maine School Finance Law(Referenced Statute 20-A§1305-B(3) Maine Statutes)
  13. "Maine Legislature" Maine Statutes(Referenced Section 20A-§1490(2) Maine Statutes)
  14. "Maine Legislature" Maine School Finance Law(Referenced Statute 20-A§1504(A) Maine Statutes)
  15. "Maine Legislature" Maine School Finance Law(Referenced Statute 20-A§1486(3)(F)-(1) Maine Statutes)
  16. "Maine Legislature" Maine School Finance Law(Referenced Statute 20-A§1305B(4)(F)-(2) Maine Statutes)
  17. "Maine Legislature" Maine School Finance Law(Referenced Statute 20-A§1502(A) Maine Statutes)
  18. "Maine Legislature" Maine School Finance Law(Referenced Statute 20-A§1351(2) Maine Statutes)