School Budgets and Fund Balances: Changing Laws and New Developments

Volume 30, No. 2

Generations of students at one law school have entered a moot court classroom where, carved in stone above the court bench, are these words of legal theorist Roscoe Pound: “The law must be stable, and yet it cannot stand still.” Pound’s legal theory that the law “cannot stand still” probably rings true for school administrators and business officials.

Pound was actually referring to the development of our common law – that is, legal change as judges apply existing law in new cases and in changing societal circumstances. But Maine school officials also may have noticed that our state and federal legislatures are fond of creating new statutes to govern our schools, and amending old ones. In addition, school officials may have observed that our federal and state education department officials and their staffs sometimes apply existing laws sporadically or even inconsistently, especially as administrations change. And, of course, as the laws and the facts change, the advice and assistance that school
lawyers give to our clients must evolve to keep pace. No doubt, this very issue of the School Law Advisory epitomizes this legal dynamic.

In that spirit, this article will explain some of the important legal changes and developments governing approval of Maine school budgets and governing school fund balances…To continue reading, visit

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