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INFORMATIONAL LETTER: 133

POLICY CODE: DB

TO:             Superintendents of Schools

FROM:       Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:        May 27, 2005

RE:             Clarification of Informational Letter #132

I write today to clarify a statement I made yesterday in my Informational Letter regarding Governor Baldacci and the borrowing plan after several phone calls. The Governor has expressed support for alternatives to the borrowing and has recently asked the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs to develop an alternative plan as part of the Part II budget discussions.

My use of the words “withdraw the borrowing plan” was an inaccurate characterization of his request. As each of you know from negotiating local budgets, this is a complex process that involves many individuals, across several branches of government. In my desire to share with you what had evolved in the process, I may have inadvertently misrepresented the status of General Purpose Aid (GPA) in these ongoing negotiations.

On Wednesday, May 25, 2005 the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs began its review of the five percent reduction plan for the cultural agencies, the University and Community College Systems and the Department of Education. I have prepared three scenarios for the Committee – one without GPA, one which includes GPA without debt payments, and a third that includes GPA without debt payments for FY ’07. The Education Committee will consider all proposals on Tuesday, May 31, 2005 and present its recommendations to the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs.

I hope that this information clarifies the negotiations that are taking place here in Augusta and I will continue to keep you apprised of developments in the budget process and its impact on GPA as or if they occur.