Education Committee: Tuesday, April 14

Public Hearings
1:00 p.m. –

LD 1097: An Act To Improve Alternative Organizational Structures by Requiring the Department of Education To Provide Them with Estimated Allocations, Senator Raye; co-sponsors: Reps. Burns, Johnson, McFadden, Schatz, Soctomah, Sutherland, Tilton; Senators Schneider, Weston

...requires the Commissioner of Education to also provide the governing body of alternative organizational structures with the computation and the amount of the allocation of school subsidy that the commissioner has estimated for the alternative organizational structure and each member entity in the alternative organizational structure.

 

LD 1129: An Act To Permit Efficient School Districts To Opt Out of Consolidation, Senator Courtney

...authorizes a school administrative unit to submit an alternative plan when the school unit spends less on kindergarten to grade 12 education than its total operating allocation under the Essential Programs and Services Funding Act for fiscal year 2008-09. This bill also eliminates penalties that would otherwise apply to such school administrative units.

LD 1203: An Act To Allow Certain School Units To Reorganize without Meeting Minimum Student Population Requirements without Being Penalized, Rep Sutherland; Senator Alfond; Reps. Finch, Johnson, Lovejoy, McFadden, Nelson

...authorizes school administrative units to submit alternative plans in situations when they have been unsuccessful in reorganizing into a regional school unit that meets minimum student population requirements. This bill also eliminates penalties that would otherwise apply to such school administrative units.

LD 1283: An Act To Reform the School Budget Validation Process, Senator Weston;

...amends the school budget approval process by allowing a budget to be approved at a school board meeting rather than a district-wide meeting, and then go directly to referendum vote. The bill also changes slightly the wording on the required referendum if a school budget exceeds the maximum state and local spending target.

LD 1336: An Act To Preserve School Choice Rights, Senator Weston;

...bill clarifies the obligation and financial responsibility of regional school unit boards of directors for preserving the opportunities for choice of schools for students who reside in a municipality in a regional school unit that was a previous education unit that sent students to another school administrative unit. The bill provides that when one or more member municipalities continue to send students to a school outside of the new regional school unit, the regional school unit is responsible for the tuition expenses for the students who are educated outside of the regional school unit.

 

Work Sessions

3:00 p.m. –

LD 1126: An Act To Limit the Scope of Miscellaneous Costs within the General Purpose Aid for Local Schools Appropriation, Senator Trahan; Co-sponsors: Reps. Finch, McKane, Pendleton, Pieh, Richardson, Schatz; Senators Nutting, Raye, Weston

...amends the law concerning the various elements of the "miscellaneous costs" component of the general purpose aid for local schools appropriation, or GPA appropriation. The premise of the bill is that the GPA appropriation should be either a general purpose subsidy to local schools or a state expenditure that provides direct educational services to students who would otherwise be served by the State's public elementary or secondary schools. The bill eliminates the Commissioner of Education's authority to use GPA funds to pay the personnel costs for a range of state employees who work for the Department of Education and provide only indirect support to the public education system. The bill eliminates a similar authority to use GPA funds to pay for the personnel costs of 3 teachers employed by the Department of Corrections. The bill also eliminates the authority to use GPA funds to pay for general education research conducted by the University of Maine, but it retains the authority to use GPA funds to cover a contract with the university to monitor and update the essential programs and services school funding model.

LD 1221: An Act To Remove the Local Requirement for Education Funding, Senator Courtney

...provides that if a school administrative unit adopts a credible budget that is below the maximum state and local spending target under the Essential Programs and Services Funding Act the school administrative unit's required contribution must be reduced by the amount of the savings.

LD 1225: An Act To Amend the School Funding Formula Regarding School Administrative Units That Are Eligible for the Minimum State Share of Their Total Allocation, Rep. Johnson; Co-sponsors: Reps. Crockett, Davis, Eaton, MacDonald, McFadden, Schatz

...provides that a school administrative unit that is eligible for the minimum state share of its total allocation under the Essential Programs and Services Funding Act may also be eligible for an additional adjustment when the school administrative unit meets certain eligibility criteria for an economically disadvantaged school administrative unit:

     1. The local median household income of each municipality in the school administrative unit is less than the statewide median household income; and.

     2. At least 30% of the students in the school administrative unit are economically disadvantaged students as calculated pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, section 15675, subsection 2.

     A school administrative unit that meets these eligibility criteria must receive an additional adjustment to the state share of its total allocation.

LD 1227: An Act To Equalize the Regional Salary Cost Index under the School Funding Formula, Rep Johnson; Co-sponsors: Clark, Crockett, Eaton, Knight, MacDonald, McFadden, Schatz, Thomas

...requires that, beginning in fiscal year 2010-11, the regional adjustment to the salary and benefits costs of teachers and other school personnel that is based on labor market areas in the State must be 1.0 for all labor market areas in the State.

LD 1298: An Act To Adjust the Special Education Funding for Minimum Subsidy Receivers, Rep. Dostie; Co-sponsors: Reps. Clarke: Finch, Fitts, Fletcher, Gilbert, McFadden; Senator Nutting

...adjusts the subsidy for special education for those school administrative units that are minimum receivers of state subsidy by reducing the transition percentage for special education costs to 25%.

LD 1414: An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Spending by School Administrative Units, Rep. Pingree

...allows a school administrative unit to exceed its maximum state and local spending target under the Essential Programs and Services Funding Act by the higher of 5% over the state and local spending target or an amount equal to the unit's previous year's budget multiplied by the rate of growth of the current year's maximum state and local spending target over the previous year's maximum state and local spending target without having to have the amount approved by referendum. This bill creates new referendum language for a school administrative unit that exceeds its maximum state and local spending target.

Tuesday work session action: LDs 1126, 1225, 1227, 1298, 1414

LD 1126: An Act To Limit the Scope of Miscellaneous Costs within the General Purpose Aid for Local Schools Appropriation, Senator Trahan;

TABLED
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LD 1225: An Act To Amend the School Funding Formula Regarding School Administrative Units That Are Eligible for the Minimum State Share of Their Total Allocation, Rep. Johnson;
LD 1227: An Act To Equalize the Regional Salary Cost Index under the School Funding Formula, Rep Johnson; Co-sponsors: Clark, Crockett, Eaton, Knight, MacDonald, McFadden, Schatz, Thomas

1225: UNANIMOUS Ought-To-Pass as a resolve, amended to include also the content from LD 1227
1227: UNANIMOUS Ought-Not-To-Pass, (with content included into above RESOLVE
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LD 1298: An Act To Adjust the Special Education Funding for Minimum Subsidy Receivers, Rep. Dostie

UNANIMOUS Ought-Not-To-Pass
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LD 1414: An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Spending by School Administrative Units, Rep. Pingree

UNANIMOUS OUGHT-NOT-TO-PASS (Under the reasoning that it might be a competing measure and that districts that could benefit from it only have to wait two more years and then can vote to discontinue the referendum anyway.)