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Lawmakers Propose to Extend School Year 

Students in Maine could be getting out of school a little later.On Wednesday, lawmakers considered a proposal that would extend the school year by five days.Right now, schools are required to be in session for a minimum of one-hundred eighty days.The bill would mandate two more days of classroom instruction with students, and three more professional development days for teachers.The extension would cost an estimated thirty million dollars.A representative of the Department of Education, Lora Downing, said they are neither for or against the proposal, but want to know how it will be paid for. “Our concern with this bill is the significant increased cost for the addition five days,” said Downing. “We do not know where the funding would come from for this ambitious proposal.”However, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Peter Edgecomb of Caribou, doesn’t believe there would be an increased cost from employing school staff members for an extra week. “At the same time, you have many year round, salaried people that work in school departments from the superintendent, your principals, special ed directors, curriculum coordinators, school hot lunch programs,” said Edgecomb. “There are numerous salaried employees. This would not cost anything.”The state currently has about sixty million dollars in its education budget.Edgecomb suggested some of the cost could be covered by that.