House Democratic Office
For Immediate Release
March 3, 2017
Dems: Governor’s Budget Falls Short on Education
Over 70 Mainers sign up to testify against the governor’s proposal
AUGUSTA – The Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee and Education Committee held a joint public hearing on Friday on portions of Gov. Paul LePage’s budget proposal that would impact Maine’s education system. Over seventy Mainers were signed up to testify against the proposal. The governor’s proposal ignores voter demands to fully fund public schools and fails to give Maine teachers the resources they need to prepare children to thrive.
“Yet again the governor’s budget ignores the will of Maine people by failing to fund public education and neglecting our students and teachers,” said Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook, Chair of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. “What’s worse, this time he’s ignoring the law and shortchanging our schools so he can give tax breaks to the wealthiest people in Maine.”
Using Maine’s school funding formula, the Maine Department of Education calculates how much each school district will receive in state funding each year. The governor’s budget makes significant changes to that formula, resulting in some communities receiving millions less in funding, and others receiving an increase, creating inequities for Maine students.
According to data from the Maine Department of Education, calculations show that almost 65% of Maine students live in districts that will see a decline in education funding from the state if the governor’s budget proposal is approved.
“Our state will be shaped by the investments we make in empowering our children to run the pillars of our economy, including strong businesses and communities,” said Rep. Brian Hubbell, D-Bar Harbor. “We need to be looking at the bigger picture when we make changes to our education system, from pre-k to affordable college, and this budget doesn’t get us there.”
Next week, the Appropriations Committee will hold joint sessions with the Environment and Natural Resources, Insurance and Financial Services and Energy, Utilities and Technology Committees to continue shaping the budget.