Curtailment impact on schools

Superintendents, business managers and others:

Today Governor Paul R. LePage issued an executive order to reduce State spending by $35.5 million to balance the fiscal year 2013 budget. With this notice, I am now able to share the impact of that curtailment on state education subsidy, including specific amounts for each school district.

As you know, today’s curtailment order is temporary, and will be followed by further legislative action in the form of a supplemental budget in January, to make reductions to the current fiscal year budget. The Maine State Constitution requires a balanced budget by June 30, 2013.

The curtailment order includes a reduction of $12.58 million to General Purpose Aid for local schools in the current fiscal year.

With the fiscal year at its midpoint, if we were not to address this now it would become increasingly challenging to achieve the reductions required to balance the budget. The curtailment order will help schools make plans. However, it is important to remember that by the Governor’s introduction of a supplemental budget in January there may be further action.

The spreadsheet showing the impact of the curtailment on individual units as well as a link to the news briefing regarding how the curtailment impacts education is available on the Maine DOE’s Essential Programs & Services Funding Model website.

The spreadsheet is based on the following factors:

  • Mil expectation. Calculations for the adjusted subsidy are based on a change in the local mil expectation from 7.69 mils to 7.80 mils. However, as in past curtailments, this one proposes a waiver so that SAUs will not be required to increase local taxes to raise those funds. That is, SAUs may instead choose to make the reductions in spending and not raise the difference.
  • Minimum special education adjustment.  For communities that receive the minimum special education adjustment, pursuant to 20-A MRSA Section 15689 subsection 1, the adjustment has been reduced from 35 percent to 30 percent of the EPS Special Education Allocation.
  • Minimum state allocation adjustment. For communities that receive the minimum state allocation adjustment pursuant to 20-A MRSA Section 15689 subsection 1, the adjustment has been reduced from 4 percent to 3 percent of the EPS Per-Pupil rates.
  • Minimum economically disadvantaged adjustment. For communities that receive the Minimum Economically Disadvantaged Adjustment, 20-A MRSA Section 15689, sub-section 11 has been reduced from 100 percent to 98 percent.

Again, you will not see reductions in monthly subsidy checks at this time. However, you should act with the understanding that your total GPA for FY 2013 will likely be reduced to the amounts indicated. Once final reductions become enacted by the Legislature, the Department will proportionally reduce the remaining monthly checks for the fiscal year 2013 to achieve the reductions.

I know this is a challenge for school districts already working hard to direct limited resources to student learning. The Department remains prepared to assist your districts in any way we can. For additional questions regarding this information, please contact Jim Rier, Suzan Beaudoin, Joanne Allen or Paula Gravelle in our School Finance and Operations team by email at Jim.Rier@maine.gov, Suzan.Beaudoin@maine.gov, Joanne.Allen@maine.gov, or Paula.b.Gravelle@maine.gov.

3 responses to “Curtailment impact on schools

  1. Will there be a curtailment impact for the private secondary schools? I don’t see that in the spreadsheet.

    • Thanks for your comment, Glendon. I’ve spoken to Jim Rier, head of our School Finance and Operations team, about your question, and here’s what he had to say:

      The maximum tuition rate that private secondary schools are allowed to charge sending public school administrative units is set by 20-A §5806. Those maximum allowable rates for FY2012-13 were posted a few weeks ago and are available at this link: http://www.maine.gov/education/data/tuitionrates/tuit13/ptuit13.html.

      No changes to the maximum allowable secondary tuition rates for FY2012-13 were proposed in this curtailment order.

      Some private secondary schools may charge a lower rate or a higher rate than the maximum allowable rate set by §5806 if they have an agreement to do so.

      • Thank you for the quick reply. I assume that public secondary schools that enroll tuition students will also continue to receive the same tuition rate as posted earlier in the month?

        If I remember correctly, the last time there was a curtailment (2009 I think) there was also a reduction in secondary tuition costs that were paid to the private schools. At the time there was a concern that it wasn’t equitable that public schools received less funding while the private schools were left unaffected.

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