The Claim: “[W]e made the largest investment in education in Maine’s history, putting the state’s share of funding for local public schools at 55 percent.”
You may have received a mailer from your state senator making claims about the last legislative session. Is it accurate and honest? See below for the fact check on this piece.
The Mailer: An official State Senate Legislative Update of Dana Dow
Towns: Alna, Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Bremen, Bristol, Damariscotta, Edgecomb, Hibberts Gore, Jefferson, Louds Island, Monhegan Island Plantation, Newcastle, Nobleboro, Somerville, South Bristol, Southport, Waldoboro, Washington, Westport Island, Whitefield, Windsor, and Wiscasset.
The state has never met the obligation to fund schools at 55% as passed by voters in 2003 and 2004, and later affirmed with the passage of Question 2 in 2016.
In July of 2017, Senator Dow voted for a state budget that overturned the ballot initiative passed by voters to tax the wealthiest 2 percent of Mainers in order to fully fund our schools. The state budget did NOT fund 55% of the cost of public schools as required by the voters and state law. Instead, the state budget provided 48.17% of the cost of public education – not the 55% as required.
On page 632 of the state budget, you can see the state is only funding 49.14% of the cost of public schools for fiscal year 2017-2018 and 50.14% for fiscal year 2018-2019.
Here is the exact language from the state budget:
“(13) For fiscal year 2017-18, the target is 49.14%. (14) For fiscal year 2018-19, the target is 50.14%”
This section of the law can be found on page 631-632 of the state budget.