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INFORMATIONAL LETTER NO.  64

 

POLICY CODE:  LF

 

 

TO:                  School Superintendents

 

FROM:            J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner

 

DATE:             March 23, 2001

 

RE:                   Education Committee’s Recommended School Funding Plan for FY 2002

 

 

 

            As you know, the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs has been hard at work crafting a distribution plan based on an appropriation of $700,338,438, an amount being used by the Appropriations Committee in their still evolving biennial budget.

 

            Late yesterday afternoon, following many sessions and considerable deliberations, the Education Committee voted unanimously to send their plan (described in the attached memorandum that I am forwarding to the Legislature) to the Appropriations Committee, Legislative leadership, and ultimately to the full Legislature.  Considerable negotiations preceded the vote with much of the deliberations focused on the amount and type of a cushion.

 

            With the economy growing at a slower pace,  the Legislature, like the Governor, is finding this biennial budget to be a difficult one.  It is important to note that at this point, the Education Committee, the Appropriations Committee, and the Governor are working to keep GPA as a priority.  The $700.3 million amount represents an increase of $36.2 million or $5.45% over what is being distributed this year.  Struggling against competing needs, the Appropriations Committee is supporting an appropriation of $718,258,591 for FY’03, an amount which represents a 3% increase over the Governor’s FY’02 recommendation, excluding the cushion.  All parties are concerned about the level of funding for FY’03 and are promising to revisit the appropriation.

 

            For superintendents, school boards, and their communities, I would recommend considerable caution as you build your FY’02 school budgets.  Please keep in mind the situation for FY’03 and the trend of the economy.  Income and sales tax revenues will ultimately determine the amount of GPA available in two years, but to predict those levels today with any accuracy is more than elusive.  The budgets that you are building now for FY’02 will form the foundation for FY’03.

 

            I will keep you abreast of any new developments.  Please be reminded that this spreadsheet only represents the Education Committee’s plan and must be adopted by the full Legislature in the final budget bill.  The ED261 printout for your unit(s) will be provided only after the budget has been passed by the full Legislature.

 

            To access the spreadsheet that reflects actual distribution of the Education Committee’s plan, please go to the Department of Education website at:

 

 http://www.maine.gov/education/data/propedcommplan.htm