AUGUSTA — The Maine Charter School Commission is considering a one-year moratorium on new charter school applications after staff and several commissioners noted the time-consuming work of monitoring the five schools they’ve already approved and creating a raft of new rules to govern the two-year-old commission’s work.

The commission has approved five charter schools and the state has a 10-school cap. The request for proposals for the next round of applicants is scheduled to be released on Aug. 31.

The commission decided Tuesday to meet with Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen to lay out the problem and see if he had suggestions for additional money, resources or ideas on how to move forward.

Gov. Paul LePage wouldn’t support a moratorium, according to his spokeswoman, Adrienne Bennett. LePage has been a strong proponent of charter schools, blasting the commission when they rejected some applicants.

“We don’t think it’s too much to ask that they manage 10 (schools),” said Bennett. “Putting a cap on that (at five) seems premature.”

She noted that the governor’s proposed budget increases the commission budget from $28,000 a year now to $150,000 a year. Most of the increase reflects shifting the cost of current Department of Education resources to the commission, she said.

“We’d certainly look into providing more resources to the commission,” Bennett added. “We want them to be successful.”

The commission members are all unpaid volunteers, and the paid two-person staff, an executive director and an assistant, work 30 hours a weeks. Initially they both worked half-time, but it was increased in the last year.

Executive Director Bob Kautz told the commissioners that in addition to direct oversight of the existing charters, the committee is due to create a series of procedural rules to flesh out the two-year-old law authorizing charter schools.

Among the rules needed are policies on charter revocation, charter renewal, charter school expansion, charter school closure and charter school replication — if an existing school wanted to open another campus in another town.

“We’re understaffed to carry this thing forward,” Kautz said. “We are conscience-bound to do it right.”

Kautz said they anticipated getting one or two new charter school applications in the upcoming year, based on calls from interested schools. Each application runs about 500 to 600 pages and must be reviewed by each commission member.

Commission Chairwoman Jana Lapoint said another option would be to send out the RFP as planned in August, but announce ahead of time that only one charter school would be approved.

Kautz pointed out that the commission has had more than 60 regular and subcommittee meetings in the last year. Three-member subcommittees are assigned to each charter school for detail work as needed, and the full committee meets monthly.

The newest commission member, who joined the board earlier this year, was against a moratorium.

“It would be deleterious,” said Ande Smith, saying it would send the wrong message to slow down so early. William Shuttleworth also was against the idea, suggesting they go to Bowen for help.

“Before we get to the point of saying we’re overwhelmed, let’s sit down and think about how to be more effective,” Shuttleworth said. “Busy people find a way of getting things done.”

“Politically, it cuts both ways,” said member John Bird, who supported the idea of a moratorium. “We do run the risk of slowing the movement, but I’m persuaded to get it right with the five (schools) we’ve got.”

Vice Chairman Richard Barnes and member Heidi Sampson also expressed support for the idea of a moratorium. Sampson suggested they could hold informational sessions with interested parties to help them create applications, so those schools would be better prepared once a moratorium was lifted.

Barnes pointed out that two of the existing schools are in a critical second year, when the commission is expected to give rigorous oversight and feedback about any issues of concern, because the commission can end their charter after the third year.

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