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Quoddy Tides
Eastport, Maine
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February 9, 2018     Quoddy Tides
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February 9, 2018
 

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9 February, 2018 THE QUODDY TIDES Page 11 STATE SUBSIDI quired local share increased because of a $5.3 million jump in the city's valuation, now up to $140 million. Lubec's subsidy amount is projected to increase by $73,451 to $245,458, mostly because of an increase in the special edu- cation adjustment, from 33% to 40%, for minimum-receiver districts. Johnson says the subsidy numbers will be welcome news in Pembroke and Perry, which saw reductions last year. Perry is projected to receive $45,516 more in sub- sidy, for a total of $420,748, and Pem- broke will receive $44,083 more, for a total of $520,969. For other AOS towns the subsidy difference from the current year and the projected amount for the coming year are as follows: Alexander- $23,644 more to $191,187; Baring - $82,351 more to $240,900; Charlotte - $57,837 more to $452,242; Crawford- $1,551 more to $4,801; Dennysville - $12,705 less to $172,794. Johnson notes that the subsidy calcula- tions had previously been based on a three-year averaging of municipal valua- tions but this coming year will be based on a two-year average. "We could see more erratic numbers" in subsidy num- bers for towns, as the three-year averag- ing provided more consistency and less fluctuation. The superintendent points out that the municipal valuations used in the state's Essential Programs and Services (EPS) school funding formula are not accurate reflections of towns' ability to pay for ed- ucational costs. A good example is pro- vided by comparing the subsidies and valuations for Calais and Lubec. Lubec's valuation, at $176.4 million, is higher than that of Calais, at $173.2 million, because of the large amount of waterfront shore- line in Lubec. However, Johnson notes that "anyone who's been to the two towns knows that Calais' ability to pay is great- er," with Lubec having little industry and not many jobs. Calais, though, will re- ceive over $4.5 million in state subsidy, while Lubec, as a minimum receiver dis- trict, only will get $245,458, under the proposed subsidy amounts. Lubec taxpay- ers will provide 82% of their funding for education, or over $1.14 million, with the state providing just 18%. The inverse is true for Calais, where the state provides 89% of the funding, or $4.5 million, while the local share of $1.47 million is only 11% of the budget. Calais may receive more funding Ron Jenkins, superintendent of the Cal- ais school system, says he is still making sure the subsidy numbers, which show a $374,774 increase to $4,526,603 for Cal- ais, are correct. One of the changes in the subsidy formula concerns the career and technical education (CTE) funding, with a new line showing $896,908 in funds for the St. Croix Regional Technical Center. Although the state already has been pro- viding CTE funding, the allocation will now be based on a program-driven cost model based on projected enrollment. Jen- kins says the new CTE funding model is based on a legislative bill that he says has "a 95% chance of passing." Calais will receive "a small benefit" from that change, Jenkins says. Two other bills currently being consid- ered also could affect subsidies. One would eliminate the $46-per-student pen- alty for districts that have chosen not to partner with other districts to develop re- gional service centers, an initiative launched in response to an executive or- der issued by Governor LePage last year. None of the school distriCtS in Washing- ton County are forming the service cen- ters, and Jenkins says Calais would lose between $27,000 and $30,000 this year for not doing so. He says the penalty is annoying because the Calais schools al- ready partner with other districts to share resources and had tried consolidation pre- ES (from page 1) viously in AOS 77 but decided to get out of the AOS. According to Jenkins, a sec- ond bill would not remove the penalties but would give credit to districts like Cal- ais that are already partnering with other districts, similar to the regional service centers. Either bill would provide more funding for Calais, and Jenkins hopes one of them will pass, although subsidy num- bers would have to be refigured then. While it appears there will be a majority vote in the legislature for the bill to repeal the penalties, it's uncertain whether there are enough votes to provide the two-thirds majority needed to overturn the likely veto by Governor LePage. As for the local contribution, Jenkins notes that the Calais schools have had flat funding for the past two years and this year is a negotiations year for the teach- ers. "My best guess is we will be asking the city to support some additional local funding," he says. "At some point, I think the budget will have to go up some." He expects, though, that any proposed in- crease will be a modest amount. Boosts for Machias area schools AOS 96 Superintendent Scott Porter says the Machias Bay area schools also will be seeing subsidy increases under the preliminary figures that were released. However, he notes that the $227,279 in- crease for Machias is misleading, since $50,000 of that amount is based on the change in CTE funding. Machias hosts culinary arts and building trades pro- grams, but it also manages a satellite crim- inal justice program at Narraguagus High School. While the state funding has been sent directly to Narraguagus, the change in the CTE allocation will have the amount pass through Machias. Machias' actual subsidy increase is thus only $177,000. Like Jenkins, Porter points out that the CTE funding change bill, LD 1016, has not yet been approved by the legislature. He's concerned that the change will end up hurting rural areas of the state, since the driver for funding will be based more on student enrollment than on actual costs, which is the current funding model. While for three years the state will be holding schools harmless, meeting the costs for the programs, in the fourth year funding could drop significantly in rural areas, since student numbers are less. Porter says the change in the EPS fund- ing formula calculations for special edu- cation will help some towns, including East Machias, which will see a $112,400 increase in subsidy, but he notes that their special ed costs have increased. Five of the 11 districts in AOS 96 - Machiasport, Nortlffield, Roque Bluffs, Wesley and Whiting - are minimum re- ceiver districts, and Porter notes that the 2011 legislation that had been sponsored by then Senate President Kevin Raye to ensure a minimum level of state funding has been "a big help" to those towns. With state funding for education increasing to $1.1 billion thiscoming year, Machi- asport, for instance, will see a $27,060 subsidy jump and Whiting a more modest $3,499 increase. "A lot of places got a little boost," he says, while agreeing with his fellow superintendent, Ken Johnson, that the state's EPS funding model is not fair to towns in rural areas of the state with low student enrollments and high valuations caused by coastal and lakefront properties. AFTER COMPLETING A UNIT on hydraulics and fluid dynamics, Paul Patterson's applied physics class at Shead High School created a nine-hole golf course called Tiger Shores. The students fabricated sets of pneumatic golf clubs made from plastic tubing and 40cc syringes. The class agreed that this project was a lot more interesting than the mathematics involving Pascal's principle. Pictured from left to right are Jacquelyn Cook, Blake (9wen, Brooklynn Gardner, C.J. Francis, Logan Trott, John Henry Mills, Jason Garnett, Trever Fenderson, Damien Lank and Keegan Miller. Grant to fund county school consortium The Maine Department of Education teachers. Participants include the lead has announced that 11 new Enabling school administrative unit, Calais Public Maine Students to Benefit from Regional Schools; Cherryfield Public Schools; and Coordinated Approaches to Educa- Maine Indian Education; RSU 37/MSAD tion (EMBRACE) grants have been 37; AOS 77; AOS 90; AOS 96; Washing- awarded to school districts and other edu- ton Academy; University of Maine at Ma- cation agencies, including one in Washing- chias; Washington County Consortium; ton County. EMBRACE grants are made and Washington County Leadership Team. available as part of the statewide regional- A total of 19 applications were received ization initiative, by the department for the Fund for the Among the projects receiving funding Efficient Delivery of Educational Servic- is one that will reestablish the Washington es grant. Of those 19 applications, 11 have County Consortium by creating a sustain- been conditionally awarded funding. able infrastructure for offering profession- Based on the funding requests - totaling al development in Washington County. $4:6 million - the 11 awardees are pro- This regional effort is intended to provide jected to save over $10 million in a five- students with excellent school leaders and year period. Hometown Proud 88 Washington St Eastport ME 04631 853-4050 Bakery and Deli Quality Meats Fresh Produce Agency Liquor Store Megabucks THE IGA FOODLINER IS ALWAYS EXPANDING VARIETIES IN ALL DEPARTMENTS. 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