Education and Cultural Affairs committee discusses financial security for schools and staff, and funding of summer pilot programs
In its most recent meetings, the Education and Cultural Affairs committee met for orientation with the Maine Department of Education (DOE) and conducted its first public hearing. The DOE discussed how the state determines what funds are needed for different school districts and how it establishes a minimum funding level for achieving learning results in an equitable way.
Aside from discussion around traditional funding procedures, the department touched upon the school system’s financial, as well as other, difficulties during COVID-19. One of the major issues brought to light this school year is a substitute teacher crisis – there simply are not enough. This also leaves schools in a position to be unable to afford to lose staff. To help mitigate this issue, the department is providing financial security for schools and staff.
Financial help comes in the form of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) and provides:
During the public hearing, the committee listened to testimony on LD 44, An Act To Establish the Summer Success Pilot Program Fund. The program has a fiscal note of $243,000 and would be paid from the General Fund.
Several testimonies in support were presented. Major points of support argued that the program would:
There were concerns expressed about the program, mainly that some school districts have robust stuff with high experience and expertise in grant writing. This may cause equity issues and leave smaller districts unable to access funding through the grant format.
If you would like more information about the issues discussed in this article, please contact Simon West by calling (207) 623-4568, ext. 117, or by emailing email@example.com.