EPS by the numbers: Labor Market Ratios

Essential Programs and Services Funding Model
Component: Labor Market Ratios

Factors by which the salary-related portions of EPS funding levels are adjusted by region

1. Kittery/ York: 1.06
2. Sanford: 1.03
3. Biddeford: 1.09
4. Portland: 1.08
5. Bath/ Bruns: 1.02
6. Boothbay: 1.03
7. Sebago Lakes: 0.94
8. Lew-Auburn: 0.98
9. Rockland: 1.00
10. Norway/ Paris(.94)
11. Stonington: 0.95
12. Augusta: 0.95
13. Waterville: 0.97
14. Belfast: 1.01
15. Bucksport: 0.94
16. Jonesport: 0.84
17. Bangor: 1.02
18. Machias: 0.84
19. Dexter: 0.94
20. Ellsworth: 0.93
21. Bangor: 0.89
22. Rumford: 0.93
23. Lincoln: 0.86
24. Farmington: 0.96
25. Calais: 0.96
26. Patten: 0.88
27. Millinocket: 0.88
28. Houlton: 0.88
29. Skowhegan: 1.03
30. Greenville: 0.95
31. DoverFoxcrft: 0.95
32. Presque Isle: 0.90
33. Van Buren: 0.99
34. Fort Kent: 0.99
35. Madawaska: 0.99

Essential Programs & Services Model – Applying the Math to the Concept (DoE Presentation to the Joint Standing Committee on Education & Cultural Affairs – 2/3/05)

An example...

So here's one way to illuminate the consequences of the effect of EPS labor market ratios.

Let's suppose Greely High School in Cumberland and MDI HS are both searching for a principal. Fortunately, a top-shelf candidate is available from out-of-state and interviews at both.

As it's in the Portland labor market, Greely can offer the candidate a salary that is 1.08 times over the average state rate without inflating its own EPS spending.

But, as part of the Ellsworth labor market (with a factor of 0.93), if Mount Desert decides that an expense that's justified for the Greely students offers the same value to the students on MDI, matches Cumberland's offer (and maybe even adds in an a modest incentive to compensate for the fact the real estate is more expensive on MDI), then it automatically puts itself in a position of spending at least 15% more than Cumberland in relation to EPS on the very same salary item.

Labor Markets - Perpetuating Inequities

One would think that the labor market ratios would be grounded in some objective data. As I understand it, however, the percentages are based on the history of teacher salaries over the years in each of the regions (although the St. John Valley is somewhat suspect because only Madawaska's salary scale has been particularly high which does not explain why the other parts of the traditionally poor SJV are also given .99).

Therefore, the fact that some areas have been able to negotiate higher average salaries than others (typically richer south v. poorer north) translates in the EPS formula as perpetuating the disparaties. So, because Portland has been able to pay more, their ratio is higher than Presque Isle's which has not been able to pay as much.

Why the EPS formula did nothing to address these historical inequities is unknown. Maybe the upcoming review will make the needed changes.