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Home > MSMA News > Governor’s budget makes major changes to funding formula, shifts costs – January 9, 2017

Governor’s budget makes major changes to funding formula, shifts costs – January 9, 2017

The governor’s proposed biennial budget for fiscal years 18 and 19 essentially flat funds General Purpose Aid for schools, but puts significant restrictions on how that money is spent, including no funding for system administration.

The budget also calls for an end to subtracting Title I funds from the state’s GPA allocation, but offsets the cost by increasing the number of students per teacher, which will affect how much money districts get for staffing. Districts are penalized under the Essential Programs and Services funding formula if they have student teacher ratios that are below state recommendations.

There are 48 sections of the budget language that amend EPS, the bulk of which would go into effect for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year, if the budget is approved by the Legislature. The budget also calls for a complete rewrite of the EPS funding formula, for implementation in the 2019-2020 school year.

The proposed changes to the formula make it difficult to compare all numbers, but it appears state GPA is down around $9.5 million, from just over $1 billion this current fiscal year to a proposed $991 million.

Local taxpayers, however, will be asked to pick up an additional $5.6 million and also pay for system administration, which Gov. LePage now says should be a local cost.

Significant proposals in the budget include:

  • No funding for system administration, which includes $66 million for central office expenses that cover superintendents, business office staff, clerical staff, legal costs, insurance and contracted services. Superintendent salaries in 2016 were just over $12 million.
  • Ending the practice of subtracting Title I funds from state allocations.
  • Changing student teacher ratios to make up for the change to Title I practice. The recommending staffing ratios will go from 16-1 at middle school to 17-1; 15-1 at high school to 16-1; and no change at the elementary school.
  • Ratios for education technicians also are going up to 114-1 at elementary school and 312-1 at middle school. Currently both are 100-1. The ratio at high school is going from 250-1 to 316-1.
  • A restructuring of the funding formula for special education, which costs $352 million annually.

The budget was not released until very late Friday night, so no hearings have been held yet. MSMA staff will attend budget reviews and send out updates as more information becomes available.

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