Opinions about divvying up AOS subsidies, modifying EPS, or taking money from administrators and maybe giving it to teachers?

1:00PM, Wednesday, March 25th would be the time to tell the Education Committee what you think about these bills.

Wednesday (3/25):
Public Hearings

1:00 p.m. –

  • LD 160: An Act To Require the Department of Education To Provide an Accounting of School Subsidy Based on Individual Members in a Regional School Unit or Alternative Organizational Structure, Rep. Schatz; co-sponsors: Reps Ayotte, Cleary, Eaton, Gifford, Johnson, Joy
      requires the Commissioner of Education to provide the governing bodies of regional school units and alternative organizational structures with the computation and the amount of the allocation of school subsidy that the commissioner has estimated for the regional school units and each member municipality in the regional school unit or for the alternative organizational structure and each member entity in the alternative organizational structure.
  • LD 816: An Act To Authorize the Commissioner of Education To Issue Separate Subsidy Checks to Each Municipality in an Alternative Organizational Structure, Rep. Clark; co-sponsors: Reps. Browne, Finch, Fletcher, McFadden, Trinward; Senators Sherman, Smith
      ...requires the Commissioner of Education to also provide the governing bodies and the superintendent of each alternative organizational structure with the computation and the amount of the allocation of state subsidy that the commissioner has calculated for the alternative organizational structure and each member entity in the alternative organizational structure and requires that the commissioner issue separate subsidy checks to each of the member entities within the alternative organizational structure.
  • LD 818: An Act To Improve Transparency in the School Funding Formula, Rep Trinward; Co-sponsors: Reps. Boland, Browne, Clark, Finch, Fletcher, McFadden; Senators Marrache, Mitchell
      ...requires the Commissioner of Education to also provide the governing bodies and the superintendent of each alternative organizational structure with the computation and the amount of the allocation of state subsidy that the commissioner has calculated for the alternative organizational structure and each member entity in the alternative organizational structure.
  • LD 1037: An Act To Require the Department of Education To Provide Certain Information to Individual Communities of Alternative Organizational Structures, Rep. Johnson
      ...requires the Department of Education to provide a detailed accounting of the amount of subsidy that a municipality in an alternative organizational structure qualifies for under the Essential Programs and Services Funding Act to each municipality in the alternative organizational structure.
  • LD 636: An Act To Control Education Administrative Costs, Rep. Bolduc
      ...changes the ratio of students to school administrative staff used to calculate salary and benefit costs to 500:1. It defines "school administrative staff" as principals, assistant principals and special education coordinators.
  • LD 190: Resolve, Directing the Department of Education To Convene a Stakeholders Group To Analyze the School Funding Formula, Rep. Johnson; co-sponsors: Reps. Browne, Cray, Gifford, Lewin, Pinkham, Sarty, Schatz, Tilton, Senator Smith
      directs the Department of Education to convene a stakeholders group to analyze the school funding formula. The department must present a plan and timeline to the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs by May 1, 2009 and a report with its recommendations by November 1, 2009. The Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs may submit legislation to the Second Regular Session of the 124th Legislature.
  • LD 522: Resolve, To Establish the Study Commission Regarding Teachers' Salaries, Rep. Sutherland; co-sponsors: Reps. Cain, Martin, Rotundo, Schatz, Wagner
      ...establishes the Study Commission Regarding Teachers' Salaries to investigate conditions affecting teachers' salaries in this State, which despite the enactment of a minimum teachers' salary law and substantial increases in general purpose aid for local schools in recent years have not kept pace with inflation and have declined in rank relative to other states in the nation. The resolve authorizes the commission to make findings and recommendations and to submit suggested legislation to ensure that all teachers are paid at rates that are commensurate with their experience, education, professional responsibilities and essential role in the development of the State's economy and human capital.
  • LD 551: An Act To Improve the Essential Programs and Services Funding Formula, Rep. Finch
      ...a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208. This bill proposes to enact measures designed to improve the essential programs and services funding formula.
  • L.D. 806: An Act To Authorize Fuel Cost Stabilization Funds To Be Established in School Administrative Units

Central Office Administration

The School Reorganization law was designed (a questionable term, I'll admit) to limit the number of system-wide administrators by constraining the number of school systems statewide. That premise was faulty by its nature since there was no requirement that RSUs or AOSs actually spend less on central administration.

Beyond that, though, there is nothing in the EPS formula which actually forces, encourages or penalizes SAUs for not eliminating Central Office positions.

In small school systems around the state (many of which voted "No" to school reorganizations plans in November or January), there are still full-time superintendents, full or part-time Curriculum Coordinators, full or part-time Special Education Directors, full and/or part-time clerical staff. There may even be a few full or part-time Assistant Superintendents.

This fiscal year, the reorganization law dropped the amount allowed for central-office administration by 1/2. The law then "penalizes" non-conforming school systems by further dropping the EPS amount for central-office administration by another 1/2 next fiscal year.

But - and here's the critical point - school boards face no penalty for reallocating the school-funding dollars ostensibly meant for other school functions back into system-wide administration.

Because the EPS formula is simply that - a formula - school systems get the state dollars, as well as their own local funds, as a lump sum which can be allocated as they choose or negotiate. If they decide to hire fewer teachers in favor of keeping their F/T superintendent, that's their choice.

So, in a school system with 300 students, the EPS allocation for system-wide administration is about $62,000 for this fiscal year. If the SAU is non-conforming (in other words, voted "no" to school reorganization), the EPS allocation for next fiscal year will be about $31,000. If the SAU employs even just a F/T superintendent and a F/T clerical person, the cost is going to be well over that $31,000. The money has to come from some other part of the budget.

My conclusion: the current school reorganization law does not save money on system-wide administration. School reorganization penalties do not save money on system-wide administration, either. The best solution: repeal the school reorganization law. The next best: figure out a way to actually cut back on central office administration and change the education funding laws to make that happen.