Impact on education funding in proposed budget

In a two-year state budget proposal that has a lot of reductions, education was largely spared by comparison – state education funds to school districts will be essentially flat for the next two years, at the post-curtailment rate. While the budget adds $27 million to GPA, it also shifts $28 million in retirement costs to become a state/local share. Currently those retirement costs are covered entirely by the State – for all districts, from the wealthiest to the poorest. The state will continue to cover the full Unfunded Actuarial Liability – the 25-year costs of paying off retirement obligations for teachers – at $142m, and another $30m-plus for retired teachers health and life insurance.

I plan to share more about the education budget next week. For now, here are some education budget-related charts and summaries for your review.

Investing in Education


Office of School Accountability and Support. Provide targeted resources to assist and support underperforming and struggling schools


Teacher and principal evaluation systems. Assist districts in implementing teacher and principal evaluation systems, as required by LD 1858 and anticipated ESEA waiver


Best Practices

College Transitions. Expand a highly successful program that provides high-quality, cost-effective and accessible pathways to post-high school education from throughout the state (currently only in about one-third the state’s Adult Ed programs)


CTE industry certification. Assist career and technical education centers and regions in attaining industry certification (equipment upgrades, staff training, new student assessments, etc.)


Proficiency-based diploma. Assist districts in transition to standards-based high school diploma, as required by LD 1422



Five-year high school. Expand Bridge-Year type model (Hermon CTE) to other CTE schools in the state, allowing high school diploma and community college degree in five years


Aspirations program. Allows more students to gain college experience and credit while still in high school – resulting in more students going on to, and completing, college

+ $600,000/yr

Jobs for Maine’s Graduates. Expands the reach of this highly successful program to well over 5,000 students statewide, helping students facing barriers to education to be successful in school and enter post-secondary education and the workforce.

+ $450,000 (fy14)
+ $600,000 (fy15)

Streamlining and Improving Educational Services Delivery

Fund for the Efficient Delivery of Educational Services. Incentive and start-up funds available to school districts to form:  a) a Regional School Unit that encompasses an entire Career and Technical Education region (there are 27 in the state), or b) a regional education cooperative that will substantially collaborate on key functions, such as special education, transportation, online learning, professional development, food services, etc.


Net Impact of Education Funding in the FY 2014-15 Proposed Budget

State Funding for School Districts bar graph.

  • No additional cuts to GPA; $895m

Gov. LePage has made education a priority, increasing GPA each of the past two years. Even after the curtailment, GPA is still greater than last year, even as most state agencies and programs have and will see reductions. The proposed biennial budget essentially flat-funds schools at the same level ($894m-$895m) for FY 2013, FY 2014, and FY 2015.

  • Enhancing student performance and opportunity; + $13m

Additional revenues through Title 8, Section 1036, will be used to increase education funds for schools and targeted to key initiatives that support school accountability, best practices, and educational options.

Nearly all of these funds – $13.1m in FY 2014 and $13.8m in FY 2015 – will flow to school districts. Funding will go to establishing a new accountability system with supports for underperforming and struggling schools, implementation of teacher and principal evaluation systems that were required by legislation passed last session, and to support school work on developing proficiency-based diplomas, also required by legislation, and other purposes. With these funds, the state is backing up its expectations with funding and support.

  • Additional funds to GPA to support portion of teacher retirement costs; + $14m

The state will provide $14 million to cover half the current cost of retirement costs.                                                                                                                                      

  • Making educator retirement a shared responsibility; – $28m

For too long, teacher retirement has been paid 100 percent by the state, regardless of a community’s wealth, and with no recognition that retirement is an employer responsibility. This $28 million annual cost has been, in essence, a tax shift onto poorer communities from wealthier ones. The biennial budget makes teacher retirement payments a shared responsibility of school districts and their communities and the state.

By running these costs through the funding formula, rather than simply reducing GPA by an across-the board $14 million, we are able to more equitably distribute the necessary savings.

  • Net impact on state funding for school districts; $894m

Teacher Retirement Costs – State and Local

Teacher retirement costs pie chart

One thought on “Impact on education funding in proposed budget

  1. Some very imporatant information is missing from this data. School enrollment figures and TOTAL spending by schools in Maine. These two charts will show the continuing pop decline versus the unchecked spending by local school distrcts.

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