Friday, December 25, 2009

Connor Submits Bill to Examine Education Commissioner’s Rule-making Authority

State Rep. Gary Connor, D-Kennebunk, has submitted legislation to examine the state Education Commissioner’s rule-making authority, following the Education Department’s decision last week to cut the state’s special education funding.
Connor, who represents Arundel, Dayton and parts of Lyman and Kennebunk, said he submitted the legislation in response to Commissioner Susan Gendron’s recently proposed rule changes that will have the effect of reducing Maine’s special education funding to local schools throughout Maine.
“Reducing special education funding to minimal standards simply won’t provide special needs students with adequate care and education,” said Connor. “Twice, over the last several years, the Legislature has decided that the state should allow local schools control when it comes to special education spending. I am concerned that Commissioner Gendron’s rule changes are not reflective of the Legislature’s intent and could significantly impact our children’s future.”
“Over the next several months, the Legislature will have to make many painful decisions as it deals with a budget hole of nearly $400 million,” said Connor, who serves on the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee. “But these decisions should be made by the Legislature, in concert with government departments, not solely by those departments through emergency rule-making.”
Connor’s bill is currently being drafted and, if accepted by the Legislative Council, which is made up of Legislative leadership, will be taken up by the Legislature during the coming session.