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Legislature passes state budget with increased funding for schools

The Legislature just after midnight finally passed a state budget that will send $25 million more out to schools for each of the next two years on top of what already was proposed in the administration’s budget – a move that will lower the required local mill rate for education.

School districts will receive updated spreadsheets to show the impact of the additional funding once the budget is official. A veto by the governor is expected, but the vote last night in the House and Senate would indicate enough support for a veto override before the fiscal year ends on June 30. That vote was 105-to-42 in the House and 31-to-4 in the Senate.

Districts earlier this year were told they would get an additional $9 million for the operation of schools and an additional $11 million was added to miscellaneous costs. Miscellaneous costs are funded by General Purpose Aid, but earmarked for special projects and programs, ranging from the Maine School of Science and Math to data management costs in the Department of Education

The budget passed last night moves $5.5 million annually from miscellaneous costs and puts it into GPA going out directly to schools. It also adds another $19.5 million to GPA for a total of $25 million more for the operation of schools.

When added all together, the funding increase for public education, including direct GPA to schools and increases in miscellaneous costs – total $40 million more annually over the current budget.

The required local mill rate, which had been an unprecedented 8.48 in the administration’s budget, will be lowered to 8.23 mills under the budget passed by the Legislature.

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