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Hearing on K-12 budget Feb. 13 in Augusta – February 6, 2017

Below are some bullet points to help you in preparation of your testimony on the governor’s proposed biennial budget, as it relates to K-12 education. A key element of that testimony is with the sweeping changes proposed in the budget and no spreadsheets on local impact (EDU 279s), districts cannot predict the true cost. What is known is there will be a cost shift onto local taxpayers because the governor is using the budget to redefine the cost of education to skirt the state’s funding obligations.

The Governor’s Biennial Budget, L.D. 390, is being heard on Feb. 13, starting at 10 a.m., in the Appropriations Committee Room 228, second floor of the State House. Please see below for guidance if you plan to present your testimony in person. Written testimony can be emailed to:

It is critical that you give local examples of funding needs unique to your district.  The following talking points will help you with the statewide perspective.

  • 48 changes are made to the EPS funding formula within the budget, and districts have no spreadsheets (estimated EDU 279s) to show what impact that really has on local aid going out to schools. The EPS formula is very complicated and affects every aspect of school funding. Proposed changes should be debated in a separate forum and NOT be part of the biennial budget.
  • One of those changes eliminates the $40 million allocation under EPS for system administration, which is a state and local obligation. All those costs would have to be picked up by local taxpayers. The system administration budget includes:

–     District leadership – Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents, Business Managers, Human Resources

–     Office support staff

–     Support of School Board responsibilities

–     Business Office functions, including bill paying, creating of the budget and required annual audits

–     Payment of all legal costs other than those associated with Special Education

–     Technology, including that used to comply with state and federal data reporting

  • The budget also cuts GPA by $9.5 million and an additional $5.5 million in GPA each year of the biennium has been diverted to fund what the governor is calling regional education service agencies, which have not yet been identified.
  • At the same time district fixed costs are going up:

–     Normal Teacher Retirement costs, shifted onto districts in 2013 by the state, are going up $7 million for a statewide total of $45 million.

–     Special Education costs are going up $17 million statewide.

  • The budget also stops the practice of subtracting federal Title I funds from EPS allocations, but at the same time increases class sizes for teachers and ed techs in all but the elementary grades. That means districts will get less state aid for teachers and ed techs if they are below recommended average class size. Without spreadsheets (estimated EDU 279s) we have no way of knowing how this change will affect districts.

For those wishing to present testimony in person:

  • Sign-ups begin one hour before the scheduled start of the hearing
  • The sign-up sheet will be either in the hallway outside of the committee room or inside the committee room.
  • You may sign up only yourself (exceptions will be for those who need special assistance).
  • Please print legibly.
  • Testimony will be taken in order of sign-ups or as determined by the Chairs
  • If it appears that there is, or will likely be, a large turnout for a particular hearing, the Chairs will limit oral testimony to 3 minutes or less. So please plan for that. Your written submittal can be as long as you want.
  • Please submit 40 copies of your testimony and any back-up materials to the committee clerk for distribution.
  • Please put your name on your written testimony and back-up materials.

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