This is in response to Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau’s guest column (Sept. 30), “Education funding highlight of 128th Legislature.”

That guest column stated that “the Legislature met its obligation to provide 55 percent of funding for the state’s public schools.” That is a very misleading statement. Not all schools receive that percentage to offset their budget. Many towns receive less than 15 percent toward their cost of education.

The EPS formula calculates the amount that a school needs in order to provide an education that meets the standards the state requires. The formula does not take into consideration many issues that factor into a town’s ability to pay, such as the percentage of property owners on fixed income. Some communities received upwards of 80 percent of their school budget while many others receive fewer than 10 percent. Receiving a minimal 4 percent state contribution, Fayette property owners are shouldering a 10 percent property tax increase this year.

A coalition of towns is leading a proposal to introduce legislation next session to “raise the floor” and ensure that all towns receive a minimum 15 percent of the cost of educating their children. That new tier of funding would require about $15 million of additional funding — less than 10 percent of the $160 million Thibodeau referenced.

I appreciate all legislators’ efforts to fund education. I hope the 129th Legislature will recognize that a floor needs to be set and a minimum defined. All of Maine’s children are worth an investment of at least 15 percent by the state.

Nancy Cronin, Fayette


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