GPA spreadsheet released

The Department of Education has released a spreadsheet showing how General Purpose Aid is being distributed across the state in the 2014-2015 school year. The spreadsheet can be seen by clicking on:

2014-2015 GPA



Six charters eye 2015 opening
Six groups have submitted letters of intent to apply for permission to operate new charter schools in Maine in 2015, including a second virtual school whose application was rejected this year.


Second virtual charter off table for now

The Maine Charter School Commission decided on May 6 not to reconsider an application to establish a virtual charter school linked to virtual school giant, K-12 Inc., meaning there will be only one virtual charter opening this fall in the state.
Read  more...

Charter funding bill defeated

An amendment that would have offered financial relief to districts hard hit by charter schools was defeated in the Senate on April 17  after the 

Maine Education Association lobbied against the proposal despite the the fact  budget cuts could  mean teacher layoffs.


No  GPA curtailment
A supplemental budget that explicitly prevents a proposed $9.5 million cut to GPA passed in the Legislature on March 21 with strong bipartisan support. The budget contains language that says  GPA cannot be curtailed in 2015 to fill a $9.5 million hole imbedded in the biennial budget last year.


MSBA Statehouse Day a success

The first Maine School Boards Association Day at the Statehouse on March 24 drew an impressive turnout from across the state, with more than 100 people gathering in the Hall of Flags for speeches on the need for the state to make education funding a top priority.

Critical bills move forward

Two bills important to the Maine School Boards Association and Maine School Superintendents Association dealing with student transfers and retirement payments for private academy teachers will be heard by the Legislature after Democratic and Republican leaders voted unanimously to move them forward.

Modest revenue increase predicted 
The Maine Revenue Forecasting Committee is predicting a slight uptick in the revenue picture for the rest of this year and next.


Committee questions GPA cut
A proposal to cut $9.5 million in General Purpose Aid to schools in 2014-2015 offered by the governor’s Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to fill a
 nearly $34 million hole in the biennial budget 
was met with skepticism by members of the

 Appropriations Committee. 

Hasson named MSMA deputy director
Dr. Robert Hasson, the longtime superintendent of MSAD 51 serving Cumberland and North Yarmouth, has been named  Deputy Executive Director of the Maine School Management Association.

Time to change school funding formula?

 While few people understand how the Essential Programs and Services (EPS) funding formula actually works , there is a growing concern that it doesn’t adequately fund education in all of Maine’s school districts – a concern that has led legislators to ask whether it’s time for a change.


Seven charters apply for 2014
Seven potential charter school operators, including the two virtual academies that have applied to open 
before in Maine, have sent in letters of intent to start schools here in 2014.


Legislature delivers good news for schools
The first session of the 126th Legislature was notable not only for the bills that passed, but the ones that did not in a lively session that delivered  some significant victories for schools.  For a description of the bills that passed, those that failed, and those being carried over to next year click on the link below.
Legislative Action on Bills...

Spreadsheet shows GPA distribution

The Department of Education has released a spreadsheet showing the impact of the new state budget, which put an additional $28 
million into General Purpose Aid going out 
to districts for school operations.
View Spreadsheet...    

Superintendent Agreement law amended
Two pieces of legislation that better outline the conditions under which a superintendent agreement can be granted have become law addressing concerns that the state was overturning local decisions to promote school choice.


Legislature approves budget

The Legislature has approved the state’s $6.3 billion biennial budget, which shifts $29 million in teacher retirement costs onto school districts, but   increases General Purpose Aid to cover those costs. It also sends $13 million in casino revenues out  to school districts to pay for 
operating costs.
Read more...  


Board brainstorms MSBA future

The Maine School Boards Association Board of Directors held a day-long retreat in mid-May to set goals for the organization, focusing on improved board training, better communication both with members and the press, and strengthening legislative advocacy by engaging all 234 

school boards in Maine in the effort.
Read more...  


Committee votes on governor’s bills
The Education Committee unanimously voted  against a bill that would have required high  schools to pay for the remedial courses their graduates take when entering the Community 
College or University of Maine System.
Read more...  


GPA boost covers retirement cost-shift

The Appropriations Committee voted unanimously Friday to raise taxes to increase funding in the state budget, restoring $125 million of the $200 million in municipal  revenue sharing cut by the governor’s proposed biennial budget and increasing GPA by $16 million in each of the next two fiscal years.
Read more...    


A-F grades biased against poor schools
High poverty schools were hardest hit  when the governor released his A-F grades for the state’s 

public elementary and high schools, with an overwhelming majority of Ds and Fs going 

to the poorest districts.
Read more...  


Malin elected to NBA board

Kristin Malin of Georgetown, the president of the Maine School Boards Association, was elected to the National School Boards Association Board of Directors at the association’s annual conference on April 12 in San Diego. Malin, who has served on the Georgetown School board since 1993, will represent the New England region on the board.
Read more...  


Real Story about Maine schools

A lot of claims about Maine schools, from how much we spend per student to the ability of Maine graduates to get into good colleges, have been bandied about this past year. To keep our members informed, MSMA created a web feature to give the facts about Maine schools.



Schools testify against budget cuts

Superintendents and school board members were a key part of the capacity crowd at a public hearing in mid-March on the governor’s proposed biennial budget when they testified against reductions in General Purpose Aid and a shift of retirement costs onto school districts.
Read more...  

Spreadsheets show retirement cost-shift

The Department of Education has released spreadsheets showing the financial impact of 

shifting more than $28 million in retirement costs onto school districts – a cost-shift the 

state says it will partially subsidize, for now, but there are no guarantees for the future.
See spreadsheet...

$1 million from GPA for charter legal bills 

A proposal in the governor’s biennial budget would take $1 million out of General Purpose Aid for public schools to fund legal challenges around charter schools -- a move called "insulting" to public schools.
Read more...  


Graduation rates rise again
The four-year graduation rate for Maine high schools rose for a third year in a row, to 85.34 percent for 2012. It’s a rise of more than 1.5 percentage points from the previous year and nearly 5 percentage points since 2009.

Two more charters approved

The Maine Charter School Commission has approved two new charter schools for a fall opening – The Fiddlehead School in Gray and the Harpswell Coastal Academy.

Read more...  


Budget cuts schools by $27 million

School districts are being hit with a $27 million cut in each of the next two school years – cuts that shift costs onto the backs of local property taxpayers and allow the state to renege on its obligation to fully fund teacher retirement costs.
Read more...  


Four charters rejected, one moves forward

The Maine State Charter School Commission on Jan. 8 rejected all but one of the five applicants hoping to open charters schools in September, including  the two virtual proposals. The commission  said a major concern was the local boards  set up to run the schools were not truly 

Read more..


Evaluation system rules proposed

The Department of Education, with input from an educator stakeholders group, has proposed a rule on how school districts will implement teacher and principal evaluations that are now required by law, including what standards educators will be measured against.


Read proposed rule


Schools hit with $12.6 million curtailment

Gov. Paul LePage issued an executive order on  Dec. 27 that reduces GPA by a $12.6



Impact by district


Tomaszewski named MSMA Associate Director

Wells-Ogunquit Superintendent Elaine M. Tomaszewski has been named Associate Executive Director of Maine School Management Association and will take over her new position in February of 2013.



Fall Conference success

More than 900 people gathered in Augusta for the 39th Annual MSMA Fall Conference, packing clinics, visiting exhibitors, and sharing ideas with colleagues. Surveys show the clinics were well received and relevant. To see some snapshots of the two-day gathering click on the link below and then click through the photos.
See photos...

Student debate

Students participated in a clinic at Fall Conference where they held a debate to demonstrate how public speaking and debating help them master  the skills incorporated in the Common Core Standards. To learn more, click on the link below.


Supt. Brown to be new MSMA director

Augusta Superintendent Cornelia “Connie” Brown has been selected to be the new executive director of Maine School Management Association. She will officially take over the reins at 

MSMA on Jan. 1, 2013. 



MEA Trust drops suit

The MEA Benefits Trust has dropped the suit it filed last year to block the release of health insurance claims data that school districts need to solicit competitive bids for their insurance coverage.


Five charters apply to open in 2013

The Maine Charter School Commission has received applications from five groups that want to open charter schools in Maine in 2013, including the two virtual charter school operators who initially had hoped to start schools in 2012.


Group meeting on evaluation models
The stakeholder group charged with making recommendations on what should be included 
in all teacher and principal evaluation 
systems that school districts must adopt 
and use by 2015-2016 is meeting  throughout the summer and fall.



Charters approved in Portland, Cornville 

The State Charter School Commission has  voted to allow the Cornville Regional Charter K-8 school to open this fall and gave conditional approval for the Baxter Academy of Technology and Science in Portland to open its doors in 2013.



Good Will-Hinckley charter approved

The State Charter School Commission voted on June 29 to allow Good Will-Hinckley’s Maine Academy of Natural Science to operate as a charter school. The vote was unanimous of the five members present. 


Summary of education legislation

The Legislature approved significant bills affecting K-12 education this past session. Click below to  read summaries of the bills that passed and when they go into effect.


Major K-12 bills approved

The Legislature approved significant bills affecting K-12 education just hours before adjourning in mid-May, after the Appropriations Committee 

either found a way to fund the proposals or 

they were passed with the required two-thirds 

vote needed for un-funded mandates.

State releases GPA estimates by district

The state Department of Education has released preliminary estimates of how much GPA each 

school district will be getting in the 

2012-2013 school year.


GPA by district...


Schools face budget cuts

School districts are facing tough budgets next year with the loss of $20 million in Medicaid funding – money that will have to be made up somehow to cover required special education services. That's on top of  the loss of $34 million in federal Jobs Funds.


Committee votes on key bills

The Education Committee has completed work on bills carried over from the last session that deal with a number of issues important to K-12 schools, ranging from polices on bullying to a standards-based diploma. 



MSBA seeks  to join health insurance suit
The Maine School Boards Association has petitioned the federal court to intervene in a lawsuit 
brought by the Maine Education Association 
Benefits Trust that seeks to block implementation 
of a law allowing school districts to get the information they need to solicit 
competitive bids on health insurance.


Annual Fall Conference a success
Strong attendance and a diverse and informative  group of clinic presenters made the 38th Annual  Fall Conference a success. MSMA wants to thank  all those who attended and shared ideas. You are the reason  Fall Conference is  such a valuable experience.
Fall Conference photos


State will apply for NCLB waiver
The state Department of Education will be putting together an application for a federal waiver of what are considered the most burdensome aspects of No Child Left Behind .
Read more...   


GPA estimates released for 2012-13
The Department of Education has released estimates of General Purpose Aid by school administrative unit for 2012-2013, with a disclaimer that the numbers could change given the uncertainty in the state’s economy.
Read more...   
GPA by district...   


Are waivers answer to failed NCLB law?
Maine, like many other states, is seeing a growing percentage of schools fail to meet student achievement goals under the federal No Child Left Behind law – a backward slide precipitated by annual targets that keep getting raised to meet the ultimate goal of 100 percent of students being proficient in English and math by 2014.
Read more...   


Legislature passes  education bills
The first session of the 125th Legislature passed major pieces of legislation dealing  with K-12 education. Click on the link below to see which bills passed.
Read more...   


Budget impacts GPA, retirees
The state has adopted a $6 billion two-year budget that includes an increase in state aid 
to schools that partially restores lost  federal funds and makes changes to the state’s retirement system. 
Read more...   


School District health insurance options
Gov. Paul LePage  signed a bill that will give  School Boards more options when purchasing 
health insurance for district employees in an  effort to control costs so more money can be put into the classroom.
Read more...   


Changes to consolidation law passed
Gov. Paul LePage has signed into law two bills that affect school consolidation - one that deals with penalties and the other with the withdrawal process from an existing regional school unit.
Read more...   


Need for competitive health insurance bids
School Board members testified on April 5 in support of a third bill that would give school districts more options when purchasing health care insurance for their employees, saying it was time to end the monopoly the Maine Education Association Benefits Trust has on business, estimated  to be worth nearly $400 million annually in premiums.
Read more...   


Commissioner Bowen outlines agenda
Commissioner of Education Stephen Bowen met with the MSBA Board of Directors  in February and said there needs to be a comprehensive plan and vision for public education in Maine.
Read more...   


State revenue picture improving
The state's revenue picture has improved by $477 million, substantially reducing the hole legislators will have to fill when they begin budget deliberations in January. The increased revenue is largely being driven by improved individual and corporate income tax collections and affects both the current fiscal year and the next biennium.
Read more... 


Fall Conference Photo Album
Thanks to all who made the 2010 Annual MSMA Fall Conference a success. The more than 50 clinics offered were well attended and well received. Click on the link below to see a Photo Album of the two-day event. Just use the arrow key to scroll through the pictures.
Photo Album... 


No curtailment for K-12 education   
Gov. John Baldacci issued a curtailment order for just under $9 million that does not affect  General Purpose Aid to K-12 schools or higher education. 
Read more... 


Distribution of $39 million from Jobs Fund
The Department of Education has released estimates on how much each school administrative unit will get of the $39 million in federal Education Jobs Fund money coming to Maine. The amounts are on the website at: www.maine.gov/education/recovery/edujobs.html
Read more... 


Student-teacher ratio more than  12-to-1
A new report from the federal government now says Maine has a student-teacher ratio of 12.2-to-1 – a ratio that is increasing as budgets tighten and enrollments stabilize.
Read more... 


$40 million curtailment no longer a threat
School districts are no longer facing the possibility of a nearly $40 million curtailment in spending starting in October since Congress earlier this month passed a bill that covered the lion’s share of a deficit in the state’s federal Medicaid account.
Read more... 


Maine below NE on per-pupil spending
Maine ranks 15th in the nation in terms of per-pupil spending and spent less per student than any other New England state, according to a Census report released late last month.
Read more... 
Click below for full report: http://www.census.gov/govs/school/


Reported student-teacher ratio wrong  
A 9-to-1 student teacher ratio reported for Maine  by the federal government, which was used as fodder in a Democratic gubernatorial primary debate and has been cited in opinion pieces and in presentations before the Legislature, is wrong.
Read more... 


82 districts sign onto Race to Top

Commissioner of Education Angela Faherty announced 82 school districts  have agreed to participate in 
the state’s Race to the Top grant application, with the hope that Maine will be awarded up to  $75 million from the federal government. 



Teacher evaluation bill passes 
The Legislature approved a bill that allows student test results to be used in teacher and principal evaluations, but left in place an amendment pushed by the teachers’ union that prohibits local school districts from adopting their own evaluation systems if they include achievement data.  

Read more... 


Consolidation law changes passed
The Legislature has approved a bill that puts more flexibility into the school consolidation law for 
those districts that want to come together, but don’t meet the current minimum size requirements.  



Budget restores some GPA cuts

The Legislature on March 30 passed a supplemental state budget that cuts $48 million out of General Purpose Aid over this year and next – a cut that could have been worse without the infusion of state and federal money that came in during the final month of budget deliberations.  
Read more... 

Click here for revised GPA cuts by district


Committee backs  $25 million for GPA
The Appropriations Committee on Monday evening unanimously voted for  a proposed budget that restores $25 million to General Purpose Aid next school year and removes just over $1 million in penalties about to be levied against 15 school districts that voted in favor of school consolidation, but their potential partners did not.

Read more... 


GPA now proposed at $25 million

Gov John Baldacci on March 11 proposed  that an additional $5 million be restored to General Purpose Aid for 2010-2011, bringing the total proposed restoration to $25 million for the upcoming school year.

Read more... 

Click here for revised GPA cuts by district

Plan would restore $20 million to GPA

Gov. John Baldacci on March 3  proposed changes to his supplemental budget that would restore $20 million to General Purpose Aid to education for school year 2010-2011.  
Read more... 
Click here for revised GPA cuts by district
Click here to see comparison chart

Proposed budget cuts school funding
Gov. John Baldacci on Dec. 18 released his proposed supplemental budget that cuts $38 million out of General Purpose Aid to schools in the current fiscal year and $35 million out of next year – a plan that if adopted would put total aid to schools in the current year at $964 million and $911 million in school year 2010-2011.

Spending cuts ordered as revenue forecast gets worse
Gov. John Baldacci has issued an order to state agencies to cut spending by $63 million -- $38 million of which will be in General Purpose Aid to schools. The move is a stop-gap measure until the Legislature can act on a supplemental budget, which will further cut spending to deal with what now is estimated to be a $384 million shortfall in revenues in this fiscal year and next.

Governor plans to issue curtailment order
Gov. John Baldacci is expected to issue an order to curtail spending on Friday to help keep the state budget in balance until the Legislature returns to vote on a supplemental budget – a curtailment that will likely cut at least $38 million in General Purpose Aid to schools in the current year.

Schools brace for $38 million in cuts for current year
School districts looking to estimate how much of a cut they will be facing in this current fiscal year, if the state reduces General Purpose Aid by $38 million, can multiply their share of last year’s $27 million curtailment by 1.4 to get a figure for planning purposes, according to the Department of Education.
Those districts wanting to review their share of last year’s curtailment in order to do that calculation can click on: http://www.maine.gov/education/data/eps/fy09/gpa_fy09_curtailment_1121.pdf

Fall Conference Photos
Click below to see photos from last month's conference. Be patient. It takes a while to 
Conference Photos...

Preparing for repeal vote

Education Commissioner Susan Gendron  told  the Education Committee the Legislature needs to act quickly if voters repeal mandatory school consolidation on the November ballot to assure a smooth transition back to the statues that were in place before the controversial law was passed.


Superintendents prepare for cuts
Education Commissioner Susan Gendron has  warned superintendents they could be looking at a cut in state funding for education that 
is as bad or worse than the $27 million  curtailment ordered by the governor last year.

Read more..

School side to budget crisis
The presidents of MSBA and MSSA respond to legislative criticism and explain how schools are doing their part to deal with the state's fiscal crisis, as state aid continues to drop. Read their opinion piece published in the Bangor Daily News.
Read more..

Legislative Roundup 2009
The first session of the 124th Legislature dealt with more than 150 bills affecting K-12 education. Follow this link to see what passed, what failed and what is being carried over for further consideration.
Read more..

Has EPS funding formula worked?
This is the 10-year anniversary of the State Board of Education special committee report that outlined the Essential Programs and Services funding formula. Put into practice in 2005, the law remains controversial and debate continues about whether it is achieving its purpose of equitable funding and opportunity or needs to be changed.

Governor signs penalty delay
Gov. John Baldacci on June 19 signed into law a bill that delays penalties for districts that did not vote to consolidate – legislation that was overwhelmingly supported in the Legislature.
Read more..

Charters defeated, penalties delayed  
The Legislature on June 9 gave the necessary two-thirds support to pass a proposal that delays penalties for those that did not vote to consolidate. On June 8,  the Senate, in a 20-to-14 vote,  killed a bill that would have allowed charter schools in Maine.
Read more..
Legislature passes $5.8 billion budget
The House and Senate today passed the biennial budget with strong bipartisan support, and leaders in both parties said it represented the tough choices needed to deal with the reality of an economy in deep recession – a reality that would have been harsher without federal stimulus money. 
Read more..

Graduation bill needs more work
The Education Committee May 21 voted unanimously to amend the Department of Education’s proposed graduation requirements bill, stripping out everything except the approval of multiple pathways – including Career and Technical Education – to earn a diploma and the need to have interventions throughout all grade levels to help students before they fail.

Committee rejects charters 8-to-5  
The Education Committee May 20  voted 8-to-5 against a proposal that would allow charter schools in Maine – a bill opposed by MSBA and MSMA because the specialized schools would take money away from the public school system without being required to operate under the same rules.

Retirement amendment pulled
A proposal that would have moved $128 million in teacher-retirement money out of a retirement account and into GPA was pulled out of the budget Monday night by the Appropriations Committee, which decided instead to authorize a study that will look at how teacher retirement should be funded down the road.  

Teacher retirement cost shift?
The Appropriations Committee has approved a surprise amendment to the biennial budget that pulls $128 million out of the teacher retirement account and puts it into the account for General Purpose Aid, paving the way for a possible change in the law that would require local taxpayers to pick up part of the retirement costs now paid 100 percent by the state.  

Legislature to vote on budget
The  Legislature is expected to vote on the proposed biennial budget next week,  including school aid that keeps districts at the levels promised in their 279s for 2009-2010 and language allowing expansion of the laptop program into the high school – a plan the Education Committee says should come with the warning “buyer beware,"  

Malin on national board
Kristin Malin, past president of Maine School Boards Association, has been elected to the board of directors of the National School Boards Association, representing the Northeast Region. The election took place in early April at the NSBA’s annual convention in San Diego.  

Cuts made to GPA
Gov. John Baldacci has a plan to fill an additional $570 million hole in the proposed biennial budget that keeps K-12 education funding for the current fiscal year and fiscal year 2010 at promised levels, but cuts 2011 by $55 million from the previous year.
The funding levels are a combination of state General Purpose Aid and $129 million in federal stimulus money over the three years.  

Charter schools opposed
The Maine School Boards Association and Maine School Superintendents Association testified on May 5 in opposition to a bill that would permit charter schools in Maine.
MSBA President Erica Kimball and Superintendent Patricia Hopkins, of the Five Town CSD and MSAD 28, told the Education Committee that charter schools would take away already limited funding for existing schools in the state.  

Committee splits on consolidation repeal 
The Education Committee voted 8-to-5 against recommending legislation that would repeal the state’s school consolidation law – a split vote that means the bill will be debated on the legislative floor.
If it is not passed by the full Legislature, the proposal, initiated by a citizen’s petition, will go to the voters in November. The bill has not yet been scheduled for a full legislative review.  Read more...

State now has more than 200 school districts
Education Commissioner Susan Gendron told the Education Committee Monday that based on the latest round of voting the state would have around 200 school districts come July 1, rather than the 80 called for in the consolidation law. Read more...


Voters give school consolidation a mixed review
With the debate over school consolidation starting up again in the Legislature, the Department of Education’s numbers show nearly 50 percent of existing school units – 144 out of 290 – have said no to the mandate. Read more...


State falling behind on 55 percent funding obligation
While voters in 2004 approved a referendum question calling for the state to pick up 55 percent of the cost of K-12 education, the governor’s proposal to balance the current year’s budget calls for the state to shoulder just over 51 percent and that could drop to 48 percent by fiscal year 2011. Read more...


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updated on 09/04/2014