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LETTER: # 67
Superintendents of Schools
J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner
March 19, 2002
Legislative Progress Towards a Final Budget for FY 2001-02 and FY 2002-03
Last night, the Appropriations Committee formally
voted to endorse a bipartisan, compromise supplemental budget package for
FY2001-02 and FY2002-03 that is supported by the King Administration.
The full Legislature is expected to discuss and vote on this soon.
Changes to educational components of the budget are detailed below.
It is important to note that the following
information represents the recommendations of the Appropriations Committee,
supported by Governor King and legislative leaders.
The final budget bill, LD 2080 (as amended by the following items and
other changes that are not related to education) must still be debated and voted
on by the full Legislature. Floor
action and final passage may occur within the week if the recommendations hold.
General Purpose Aid for Education (GPA).
final GPA appropriation for FY 2002-03 in the negotiated budget package is $730,817,941.
This represents a 4.11% increase over the FY 2001-02 appropriation in the
biennium budget as enacted last spring. This
appropriation is based on GPA Plan 7, which was the Education
Committee’s recommendation to the Appropriations Committee, plus an
additional $2,193,685 to be targeted for Program Costs.
Most of the features of the final GPA appropriation are similar to the
features of the Governor’s initial GPA proposal, which was the basis for the
ED 261 printouts sent to superintendents and described in my Administrative
Letter #17, dated January 10, 2002. There
are three differences between the final GPA appropriation and the GPA proposal
that was the basis for the January 10 printouts:
The Operating Costs subsidy appropriation is increased by $7,806,315.
With this increase, the appropriation for Operating Costs increases to
the same amount as during the current year, FY2001-02.
The Program Costs subsidy appropriation is increased by $2,193,685.
With this increase, the appropriation for Program Costs increases by
10.12% over the current year, and allows the Program Costs Reduction Percentage
to drop from –4.98% in the current year to –2.99% in FY 2002-03.
An additional appropriation of $2,459,350 is made for State Agency
Clients and for State Wards for FY 2002-03, in addition to the 25% increase in
this line that was already part of my Recommended Funding Level and included in
the Governor’s proposed budget. This
figure is intended to provide sufficient resources for the Department to pay
100% of all bills presented for payment during FY 2002-03.
The final GPA appropriation also provides an
additional appropriation of $6,699,734 for State Agency Clients and for State
Wards for FY 2001-02. This figure
is intended to provide sufficient resources for the Department to pay 100% of
all bills presented for payment during FY 2001-02.
The combined additional appropriations for State Agency Clients and State
Wards ($6,699,734 for FY 2001-02 and $2,459,350 for FY 2002-03) had been
included in Governor King’s February 27, 2002 Budget Change Package.
Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MTLI).
Governor’s proposed budget, he recommended reducing the remaining laptop funds
from $30 million to $25 million. This
recommended reduction is included in the budget package endorsed by the
Appropriations Committee. The
balance of funds in the Endowment is sufficient to support the four-year
contract with Apple Computer and to fully realize the first phase of this
initiative to equip all seventh and eighth grade students and teachers with
wireless notebook computers and supporting infrastructure and services.
In the Governor’s February 27, 2002 change package, he recommended
reducing the ATM appropriation for FY 2001-02 by $150,000, due to unspent
balances in this program. In the negotiated budget package, this $150,000
deappropriation is restored to the original ATM appropriation for FY
2002-03. In light of the
substantial interest expressed by schools, this amount will enable the program
to bring some additional sites into service in 2002-03, beyond the 61 that had
already been targeted for support.
Governor’s proposed budget, he recommended reducing the Adult Education
appropriation for FY 2002-03 by $130,000, to reflect the same percentage growth
as GPA. In the negotiated budget
package, this $130,000 deappropriation is not included, so the original
Adult Education appropriation for FY 2002-03 would be unchanged at $4,983,613,
representing a 6% increase over the current year.
We will keep you informed as action continues on
this negotiated budget package.