Education Committee Schedule - March 2 - 6, 2009

WEEKLY SCHEDULE

Education and Cultural Affairs Committee

Week of March 2 - 6, 2009

Monday:   

Work Sessions

10:00 a.m. –

L.D. 96 : An Act To Authorize the Implementation of Modified School Year Calendars

L.D. 245: An Act To Calculate the School Year by Number of Hours

L.D. 128: An Act To Require the Teaching of Agricultural Studies in Maine's Schools

L.D. 100: An Act To Improve Oral Health Care for Maine's Children

11:00 a.m. –

L.D. 161: An Act To Amend the Special Education, School Health and School Nutrition Laws Regarding Scoliosis Screening, the School Lunch Program, Transitional Services, Gifted and Talented Education Programs and the Maine Mentoring Partnership Grant Program

1:00 p.m. –

LD 353, FY10-FY11 Biennial Budget:

Maine Arts Commission

Maine State Cultural Affairs Council

(New Century Program Fund)

Maine Historic Preservation Commission

Maine Historical Society

Maine Humanities Council

Maine State Library

Maine State Museum

Maine Public Broadcasting Corporation

Tuesday:  

Session

10:00 a.m. – House and Senate

Wednesday:  

Work Session

9:00 a.m. –

L.D. 76: Resolve, To Study the Feasibility of Expanding the Curriculum of the Maine School of Science and Mathematics

LD 353, FY10-FY11 Biennial Budget:

Department of Education Programs, including:

GPA for Local Schools

Maine School for Science and Math

Maine Education Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Jobs for Maine’s Graduates

Impact of Federal Stimulus Funds

1:00 p.m. –

LD 353, FY10-FY11 Biennial Budget:

State Board of Education

Department of Education Programs (continued from a.m.), including:

Adult Education

After-School Program Fund

Criminal History Record Check Fund

Education in Unorganized Territories

Federal and State Program Services

Leadership Team

PK-20 Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

School Finance and Operations

Special Services Team

Child Development Services

Learning through Technology

Professional Development and Education Fund

Fund for Healthy Maine – School Breakfast Program

Fund for Healthy Maine – School Nurse Consultant

Retired Teacher Group Life Insurance

Retired Teacher Health Insurance

Teacher Retirement

Thursday:  

Session

10:00 a.m. – House and Senate 

Public Hearing

1:00 p.m. –

L.D. 206: Resolve, To Fund the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program

L.D. 470: An Act To Sustain Nursing Education in Lincoln County

L.D. 521: An Act To Ensure Continued Support for Local Adult Education Programs

L.D. 678: An Act To Provide Middle School Students with Access to Innovative Science Education

L.D. 697: An Act To Stabilize School Heating Costs

Friday:  

No Scheduled Committee Meetings

EPS and SPO's "accept it"...

Ms. Freeman is a smart woman and no doubt understands that EPS was designed as a floor for educational spending, not a ceiling. She should, therefore, acknowledge that the formula was not intended as the be-all-and-end-all for "mak[ing] sure it provides enough funding for every child in the state to get a good education."

I hope that someone (not employed by, or subcontracted to, the Department of Education), someday soon does a correlation between the Learning Results and the EPS formula. Since EPS currently does not distinguish among types of teachers (art, phys ed, grade 5 classroom, high school AP calculus, high school Spanish, middle school French, for example), but simply creates a blanket 15, 16 or 17-students-to-1-teacher ratio, it should be adjusted to accurately reflect the requirements of the the Learning Results and/or the new "Standards-based" High School Diploma should that be enacted into law.

The EPS student-teacher ratios for each school in the state should also be posted on the DoE's website. Right now, the only place to see the school-by-school information is on ED 279s which are given in hard-copy-only to superintendents' offices around the state. Citizens should be able see that if the EPS formula supports 10 teachers in a school of 170 elementary school students (17-1), but also requires those students to be exposed to visual/performing arts, learn foreign languages, have physical education, etc, then the mythical 17-1 ratio evaporates. Add in special education which is separated out in the EPS formula but regulated by federal law and you have LD 1 limits being exceeded, but kids getting what they are supposed to have by laws of the same state.

Finally, it's important to remember that the state GPA subsidy is allocated to school systems as a lump sum, just as it has always been. School boards and committees, led by their superintendents, determine the budget which is presented to voters. They can use the state subsidy however they want once it's theirs. In one small school system in Aroostook County with fewer than 350 students, there is 1 superintendent with 2 administrative assistants and a Curriculum Coordinator. The system is exactly at the EPS allocation. The "system-wide" administration EPS allocation would be 350 students times $208. That's just about $70,000. I'm quite sure the system is spending well over that amount for the 4 positions (even if some of them are part-time). Therefore, the system must be spending less on teachers, Ed Techs, bus drivers and other employees in order to make up for the "excess" central office staff.