Maine Education Funding Cuts Are the Largest in New England

LePage budget proposal will worsen trend that threatens our children’s future and state’s economic well-being

Augusta, Maine (Tuesday, February 5, 2013) The Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) today released findings comparing Maine’s education funding to the rest of New England since the recession. After adjusting for inflation Maine has cut state aid to public schools by $468 per-pupil, or 8.8%, since fiscal year 2008 when the recession hit. Over that same time frame Vermont cut spending by $70 per-pupil, while every other state in New England increased education funding by $100 per-pupil or more (see chart below). Governor LePage’s biennial budget proposal for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 would result in an additional cut per pupil of $66 when adjusted for inflation.  

“We can’t cut our way to prosperity, and we certainly shouldn’t try to do so on the backs of Maine’s students,” said Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) executive director Garrett Martin. “A good education opens the door to a successful, prosperous life for our kids. These cuts threaten their futures and hurt Maine’s economy. No amount of education reform will compensate for the fact that we aren’t adequately funding our schools or paying our teachers.”

MECEP’s analysis indicates that Maine’s teachers are the lowest paid in New England and earn 15 percent below the national average. The analysis also indicates that Maine reduced the number of teachers by 1,400 since 2006-07 which contributed to increased student-teacher ratios.

“The Governor’s budget proposal puts us in an even deeper hole,” Martin continued. “Previously enacted tax cuts pit the future of Maine’s children against tax cuts for wealthy Mainers. We must raise revenue to fund education and uphold the state’s commitment to our children and communities.”  

To obtain a copy of the MECEP findings entitled “Education Funding Falters in Maine,” click here.