CBPP Report: Maine School Funding Much Lower than before the Great Recession

7.3% cut hurts students and is bad for state’s economy
Augusta, Maine (Thursday, September 12, 2013). A new report from the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) finds that Maine is among the states where per pupil education funding is still significantly below levels prior to the beginning of the Great Recession in late 2007. Maine is currently spending on average $397 less per student than before the recession, a 7.3% cut.
“The report reinforces what MECEP has been saying for some time: state school funding cuts hurt Maine students and are bad for our economy in the short term and over the long haul,” said Garrett Martin, Executive Director of the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP). “The recent budget passed over the governor’s veto rejected his proposals that would have made the situation even worse. Still, Maine is lags behind the rest of New England and much of the nation in our commitment to provide the resources necessary for quality education. A good education opens the door to opportunity for the individual and a well-educated work force is critical to a vibrant growing economy.”
The CBPP report notes that these education cuts hurt the state’s economy in the short- and long-term. The cuts slowed the economic recovery by causing both public- and private-sector job loss as school districts throughout Maine laid off teachers and support staff, reduced pay for the remaining staff, and canceled contracts with private businesses.
CBPP emphasized that reducing investment in schools also has long-term economic consequences. A strong education system is essential to creating and maintaining a thriving economy. Businesses need a well-educated workforce, and education cuts undermine the state’s ability to produce workers with the skills needed to compete in a global economy.
“At a time when the nation is trying to produce workers with the skills to master new technologies and adapt to the complexities of a global economy, states should be investing more – not less – to ensure our kids get a strong education,” said Michael Leachman, CBPP director of state fiscal research and co-author of the report released today.
The full report is available online; to obtain a copy, click here.