Lewiston, Auburn and Portland are among the public school systems getting more state funding this year, according to state education funding figures released Tuesday.

The annual allocations, posted online by the Department of Education, show how much state money is sent to districts for the upcoming year, based on the state budget. District officials need the figures to determine their budgets for the coming fiscal year that begins July 1.

The state has a complicated school funding formula that considers several factors, including the value of a district’s property tax base, the percent of low-income students it serves and the district’s special education costs.

The current allocation is based on the state’s $7.1 billion two-year budget passed in July that included an extra $162 million for education, for a total of $1.1 billion in education funding statewide.

Portland Public Schools is getting slightly more in state funding this year, while wealthier communities in the Greater Portland region saw decreases, according to state education funding figures released Tuesday.

Lewiston — one of the state’s biggest districts with some of the state’s neediest students — saw the biggest dollar increase in state aid, up almost $10 million to $61.7 million from $52.6 million last year. That reflects the district’s low property valuation and high service needs for its students.


Lewiston Superintendent Bill Webster said the district still may need to make cuts even though funding has increased.

“Our enrollment is still growing and Lewiston’s statewide valuation is stagnant while in many other communities it is growing,” Webster said in an email Tuesday night. “That, plus the overall increase in state funding, generates the increase. We have so many needs in Lewiston that we will likely still be cutting desirable items, but at least this is a funding level that we can work with.”

Auburn is receiving about $3 million more this year, Superintendent Katy Grondin said. Of that $3 million, $2.2 million is from the state, $800,000 is required from local taxpayers.

The increases are to cover higher special education costs and transportation, Grondin said.

She said she’s pleased Auburn will receive an increase “with the rising costs of special education and to support our staff salary and benefit increases.”

The state of Maine funds education through a state “essential programs and services” formula, which determines how much money is needed for each school district to provide a baseline education.

The formula also determines what percentage of that total amount the state will pay, and what percentage the local community will pay. For poorer communities, such as Lewiston, the state pays for 80 percent of the essential programs and services, while in Cape Elizabeth, for instance, the state only pays for 7.5 percent and requires the local community to pay for the rest.

Most districts’ school budgets, which must be approved by local voters, are larger than the state’s assessment of how much essential programs and services should cost; those communities pick up the additional funding locally.

State DOE officials noted that this year the state’s share has reached 53 percent, up from 52 percent last year.

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