After months of deliberations, the biennial budget has been enacted following the 126th Legislature’s override of Governor LePage’s veto yesterday afternoon. Based on this enactment, updated school subsidy printouts (ED279s) are now available at: www.maine.gov/doe/eps/.
Some key factors in enacted funding level to note:
- Normal Retirement Costs for current employees (2.65 percent of salaries) becomes the responsibility of SAUs beginning with salaries paid after July 1, 2013 and reported to Maine State Retirement beginning August 15, 2013 and monthly thereafter.
- The approved State budget for FY2013-14 includes $19.7 million in additional (new) GPA. The removal of many initiatives in the Administration’s budget that would have provided additional funding for specific purposes adds $8.4 million to the amount to be redistributed to SAUs through the funding formula. Therefore, the total amount of new GPA to be distributed in FY2013-14 is $28.1 million.
- The minimum special education subsidy percentage is increased from 25 percent to 35 percent for FY2013-14.
- The approved State budget also includes a provision that would allow private schools that are required to pay the normal retirement costs for their employees eligible for Maine State Retirement (2.65 percent of salaries) beginning in FY2013-14 to increase the maximum allowable tuition rate by an amount equal to the estimated normal costs divided by their attending pupil count.
- The newly-released ED279 printouts include MaineCare Seed adjustments for some units for previously unrecovered payments for FY2011-12 and FY2012-13.
Local budget considerations resulting from the enactment of the state budget and new ED279’s are released. Depending on the status of your FY2013-14 budget, you should review 20A§1488 – the State statute on special budget meetings (below), and consult your legal counsel.
The regional school unit board may call a special budget meeting when it declares that an emergency exists. The voters of the regional school unit may authorize the regional school unit board at a special regional school unit budget meeting to expend additional funds from the regional school unit’s undesignated fund balance or to pledge the credit of the regional school unit to obtain additional money for the operation of schools. A special budget meeting held on or after July 1, 2008 must be conducted in accordance with sections 1485 and 1486. [2007, c. 240, Pt. XXXX, §13 (NEW).]
As you may recall, Governor LePage – who has consistently increased General Purpose Aid funding – had specifically stated in his veto message that he was concerned about the impact this budget would have on students because of cuts to programs targeted at college and/or career readiness programs like Jobs for Maine’s Graduates and Aspirations. While the budget is authorized by the Legislature without the funding we requested for those important programs, I want you to know that Maine DOE is committed to school improvement and innovation, and will support that work as best we can moving forward using existing resources and creative new partnerships.