Governor's Budget Terrible For Maine's Students And Homeowners
Budget shifts cost of educator retirement to local taxpayers and invests in unproven education gimmicks
The Maine Education Association, which represents 25,000 educators statewide, is sad to see a budget proposal that moves Maine backwards. The Governor’s budget moves farther away from the voter mandated requirement which calls for the state to pay 55% of the total cost of education. In addition, the budget pushes half of the cost of educator retirement to local communities.
“The Governor’s budget is nothing but a shell game. It will drag our schools down and force more burden on to middle class property owners who will have to pay more in taxes to make up for the lack of state funding. These are cuts, plain and simple. Education can’t take another hit, we are down to the bone with nothing left to cut,” said Lois Kilby-Chesley, teacher and President of the Maine Education Association.
The Governor’s budget includes more than $15 million in what appears to be education funding. That funding however, is for things like attorneys not programs to help Maine students. Included in that $15 million is one million dollars to hire attorneys for the charter school commission and a new bureaucratic office in the Department of Education to “hold schools accountable.”
“That $15 million dollars would be much better spent to fund our public schools which have a proven track record of success and are already struggling financially. Investing in unproven gimmicks does nothing to help Maine students. If the Governor were so concerned about Maine students, he would give money to students not lawyers. This budget is a non-starter,” added Kilby-Chesley.
The MEA looks forward to working with both parties in the Legislature to develop a budget that provides our schools the resources they need to succeed. It is the state’s obligation to meet the 55% mandate voters asked for almost 10 years ago. All options need to be on the table to prevent this Governor from causing more harm to our schools and Maine's middle class.
“This is the time to invest in our kids by funding education. We cannot ask middle class homeowners to shoulder the burden while the state skirts the law. An educated Maine is a healthy, prosperous Maine. That is the way life should be,” said Kilby-Chesley.
For more information on Governor LePage's budget read these articles: