Making Maine Children a Priority:
As someone who raised five daughters, and as the grandmother of five children herself, Governor Mills believes that all Maine children should have the same shot at success, no matter which zip code they grow up in. Since taking office, Governor Mills has:
- Restored the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet: In her inaugural address in 2019, Governor Mills announced that she would reinstate the Maine Children’s Cabinet after an eight-year hiatus. The Children’s Cabinet mobilizes state agencies to improve and promote the healthy development of children and youth in Maine.
- Fully Funded Education for the First Time in History: Governor Mills fulfilled the State’s commitment to schools, municipalities, and teachers by funding 55 percent of K-12 public education for the first time in Maine history since approved by the voters in 2004.
- Honored the Hard Work of Our Teachers: Governor Mills raised the minimum teacher salary to $40,000 per year, the first time the minimum salary had been raised in nearly a decade.
- Made Becoming a Teacher Easier: Governor Mills expedited teacher certification by reducing application turnaround to three weeks, an all-time best and far ahead of the industry standard of around 12 weeks.
- Repaired Crumbling Schools: Governor Mills recapitalized the School Revolving Loan Fund, which provides critical funding to repair crumbling school infrastructure.
- Made Sure No Child Goes Hungry: Governor Mills tackled student hunger by making the School Breakfast and National School Lunch programs available to all Maine students at no cost.
- Expanded Early Childhood Education: Governor Mills increased state funding by $5.4 million for public pre-K, and added 90 programs statewide. She also dedicated unprecedented $10 million in funding through the State and the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to expand the availability and accessibility of Pre-K programs across Maine.
- Invested in Child Care Infrastructure and the Child Care Workforce: Under her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, Governor Mills has invested $10 million to help Maine communities renovate, expand, or build new child care facilities. Under her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, Governor Mills has also provided $200 monthly stipends to more than 6,600 educators in child care programs to help facilities recruit and retain staff.
- Invested in Career and Technical Education: Governor Mills made the first significant investment in Maine’s Career and Technical Centers since 1998 so students have access to the technology and tools they need to train for today’s economy. CTES have increased enrollment by 10% during Governor Mills’ Administration.
- Kept College Tuition Low: Governor Mills provided additional funding to the University of Maine and Maine Community College Systems to avoid tuition increases at each of the institutions and make it easier for Mainers to access workforce training and higher education.
- Helped Students Explore Careers in Maine: The Governor’s Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan makes an historic investment of $25 million in career exploration programming to get Maine’s students out of the classroom and connect them to work-based learning opportunities, including internships and other work experiences. The program will help students across the state better understand career opportunities, build valuable relationships with employers, and gain 21st century and foundational skills for future success.
- Ensured Online Connections for Students During the Pandemic: During the early days of the pandemic when remote learning was more common, Governor Mills secured internet access for 14,494 students and internet accessible devices for 7,351 students to facilitate equitable access to online learning opportunities for Maine students during the pandemic Governor Mills also funded the construction of permanent internet infrastructure to bring high-speed broadband to more than 730 students across rural Maine during the pandemic.
- Gotten Students Back in School During the Pandemic: Governor Mills dedicated unprecedented funding to help reopen Maine schools, get kids back into the classroom, and keep them there during the pandemic.
- Maintained Consistency for Maine Schools: Governor Mills prioritized consistent, stable leadership for Maine schools. After years of inconsistent leadership at the Maine Department of Education under the previous administration, the Department of Education has rebuilt and redefined its role as an organization that will inspire and support Maine’s schools and communities in providing the very best education for our children and for our lifelong learners.