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ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER:   23
POLICY CODE:  DB
                                                           

TO:                 Superintendents of Schools

FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:             March 27, 2007

RE:                 Proposed General Purpose Aid for Local Schools (GPA) Funding for FY 2007-08

I recognize the difficulty in building budgets for the FY 2007-2008 school year and the desire to have details describing the state share in funding General Purpose Aid.  The deliberations surrounding the FY 2008 – FY 2009 biennium budget are being impacted by several factors that have caused me to be very cautious in releasing proposed General Purpose Aid projections. The Governor’s budget submission included a dollar increase on the cigarette tax to enable the state to meet its obligation in funding the implementation of the state share of 55% for the cost of education as defined by Essential Program and Services.  The Taxation Committee has voted in opposition to the recommendation.  The dollar increase would raise approximately $130 million dollars.  The revenue forecast for FY 2007 and FY 2008 was lowered yesterday by the Revenue Forecast Committee. This will create a need to adjust the budget for this year as well as next year.  As you are well aware the Governor’s submitted budget included savings through the restructuring of school administrative units and this continues to be discussed by the Education and Appropriation Committees.  In addition, LD-1 defines growth limits for state allocations and revenues that impact the budget.  As a result, we have prepared two very tentative subsidy calculations for your consideration in building your budgets. 

The preliminary amounts posted today for the FY2007-08 year reflect two possible scenarios and do not represent final action of the legislature. 

The EPS allocations, local mill rate expectation and state subsidy (including transition amounts) for:

Scenario A. The Governor’s revised budget consistent with EPS/state share phase-in requirements included in LD-1 Chapter 2 enacted in January 2005.

Scenario B. If the Legislature chooses to revise the EPS/state share requirements or make other changes in response the global state budget picture.

Unit-by-unit amounts for both Scenario A and B are available on the following Department of Education website:
http://www.maine.gov/education/data/eps/fy08/eps0708.htm

School administrative unit 2007-08 budgets and warrant articles should be based on 20-MRSA Section 15690.  Please refer to Administrative Letter #20, “2007-08 Budget Reporting” for procedures in reporting your unit’s 2007-08 budget information – available at the website below:
http://www.maine.gov/education/forms/misteam/efm46/46menu.htm


The EPS Allocations include the total of Operating Allocation, Other Subsidizable Costs, and Debt Service Costs defined as follows:

  • Operating Allocations include weighted amounts for disadvantaged students; weighted amounts for limited English proficient students; targeted funds for assessment, technology, and kindergarten through grade two; and adjustments for isolated small schools including the new proposed elementary isolated small schools adjustment.
  • Other Subsidizable Costs include allocations for approved gifted and talented programs; EPS special education allocation; approved vocational (CTE) educational programs; EPS transportation operating allocation based on the new proposed amendments; and approved bus purchases.
  • Debt Service Costs include principal and interest payments for school construction bonds or portion of bonds that are approved for subsidy; approved leases and lease-purchases; and insured value factor expenditures.

The State Share includes adjustments for debt service, per 20-A MRSA Section 15689, minimum special education based on the EPS special education model, and minimum State allocation.  The “Fact Sheet” included with this letter includes estimated subsidy and data that has been updated and corrected.

For questions regarding estimates, please contact Jim Rier, Suzan Beaudoin or Joanne Allen of the Department of Education’s School Finance and Operations by email to jim.rier@maine.gov , suzan.beaudoin@maine.gov or joanne.allen@maine.gov

Attachment:  Fact Sheet for Use with Estimated FY 2007-08 Subsidy Amounts