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Home > MSMA News > Majority on Education Committee keep system administration in budget – March 28, 2017

Majority on Education Committee keep system administration in budget – March 28, 2017

The Education Committee has voted 8-3 against the governor’s plan to eliminate the allocation for system administration as part of the K-12 portion of the state budget, with similar divided votes on what constitutes the state share of funding education.

The 8-3 vote on system administration included all three Senators on the Education Committee – Chairman Sen. Brian Langley, R-Hancock, Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cumberland, and Sen. Joyce Maker, R-Washington, and House Democrats.

The budget review, which began last week and was completed Monday evening, began with unanimity around the need for the state to support 55 percent of the cost of education, but quickly divided along party lines among House members on the committee.

At issue is what constitutes state share.

State Rep. Trey Stewart, R-Presque Isle, presented a plan that included the state’s payments of the unfunded liability for teacher retirement costs worth just under $173 million and $12 million for operating costs in the Department of Education as part of the state’s contribution to K-12. That coupled with the governor’s proposal to no longer recognize system administration as part of education costs, brought state share to around 55 percent.

Sen. Millett countered with a plan that rejected all policy changes in the governor’s biennial budget; restored system administration; and, essentially calls on the state to fund 55 percent of the cost of education as defined by the Essential Programs and Services funding formula. The unfunded liability is not part of EPS. Her plan was the one adopted as the majority report.

The Education Committee’s recommendations will now go to the Appropriations Committee, which is charged with crafting a final budget plan for the full Legislature’s consideration. There is no estimate at this time on when the budget will be voted out of that committee.

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