Gov. Paul LePage is stepping down from a blue ribbon commission that is studying education finance reform, and naming Deputy Education Commissioner Bill Beardsley to take his seat.

In turn, Beardsley has named Bob Hasson to serve as the department’s representative and chairman of the Commission to Reform School Funding and Improve Student Performance. Hasson oversees certification, educator effectiveness and higher education for the Department of Education.

Beardsley said Friday that the new role will allow him to be more of an advocate on the 15-member commission, rather than focusing on facilitating the discussion.

The commission is in the middle of a legal dispute, after the attorney general sued the commission for violating the state’s open meeting laws after it held a closed meeting on April 25 at the Blaine House. The commission’s next meeting, the first since April 25, is scheduled for Aug. 29 at York County Community College in Wells.

The complaint is scheduled to be heard in Kennebec County Superior Court on Sept. 12-13.

The 15-member commission was formed to evaluate the state’s current education funding model and report back to the Legislature with recommendations for funding reform and improving students’ performance. The commission is expected to meet through July 2018.

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