Sec. EEEE-1. Lease-purchase authorization; Maine Learning Technology Initiative. Pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 5, section 1587, the Department of Administrative and Financial Services on behalf of the Department of Education may enter into financing arrangements in fiscal year 2009-10 for the acquisition of portable computer systems for 7th grade, 8th grade and high school students and educators to support the operations of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative program. The financing agreements may not exceed 4 years in duration and $69,696,000 in principal costs for the Maine Learning Technology Initiative program. The interest rate may not exceed 7.5% and the total interest costs may not exceed $5,227,220. The annual principal and interest costs must be paid from the appropriate line category allocations in the Department of Education. The State is authorized to extend the provisions of the lease-purchase agreement on behalf of school administrative units as long as all costs of the extension are borne by the school administrative units.
Sec. EEEE-2. Effect on state and local share of school funding; findings. The Legislature recognizes that the expansion of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative program authorized pursuant to this Part requires the commitment of state and local funding in fiscal years 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 at a time when the amount of the General Fund appropriation for the General Purpose Aid for Local Schools program is declining and may continue to decline due to significant disruptions to the state and national economies. The Legislature also recognizes that those school administrative units that choose to participate in the expansion of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative program authorized pursuant to this Part may decide to commit a significant portion of the targeted technology resource funds allocated to the participating school administrative units pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, section 15681, subsection 1, paragraph B to fund the cost of participating in the program.
Sec. EEEE-3. Construction; legislative intent; option to voluntarily participate. Nothing in this Part requires a school administrative unit to participate in the expansion of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative program authorized pursuant to this Part. It is the intent of the Legislature that neither the expansion of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative program under this Part nor the benefits provided under this program to participating school administrative units serve as justification to decrease other funds appropriated or allocated to school administrative units currently participating in the middle school program established for 7th and 8th grade students and educators and funded by General Fund appropriations allocated to the middle school laptop program pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, section 15689-A, subsection 8.