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State education committee kills Geiger's school funding bill

By Stephen Betts | May 30, 2021

Augusta — State Rep. Valli Geiger, D-Rockland, said she plans to work with a legislative leader next year, in an attempt to make the state's education funding formula fairer to communities like Rockland.

Geiger commented after the Legislature's Educational and Cultural Affairs Committee killed her proposed legislation to revamp the funding formula.

The Committee voted unanimously May 11 to defeat Geiger's bill LD 1449. The unanimous vote means there were no votes on the floor of the full House or Senate.

"It was too radical for them. I was proposing that the formula be scrapped and replaced with 45% of education subsidy given on a per pupil basis to every school district and the remaining 10% be applied based on the poverty rate, median household income and any additional monies (such as from the relief act) apportioned on a per pupil basis," Geiger said.

She said there were six bills that proposed changes to the education formula and the committee acknowledged that this signaled a problem with the formula as it exists and acknowledged that cities like Rockland were particularly disadvantaged.

She said the chair of the committee, Rep. Michael Brennan, D-Portland, has offered to work with her on a new bill to be put in for the second session in 2022.

The Rockland area school district — Regional School Unit 13 — has pointed out for years that the current formula penalizes coastal communities because it bases the amount of state aid a community will receive based on property values with the higher valued communities receiving less money.

Lack of state aid is a major contributing factor to Rockland's higher than average property tax rate.

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Comments (3)
Posted by: Valli Genevieve Geiger | May 31, 2021 19:12

I do not intend to stop trying. It is my intention to submit a bill every session as long as I have the honor of serving the people of Rockland and Owls Head. The formula is not just, it must be changed and I will persist. This is not over. 6 bills were submitted this session, with changes to the formula. Steven is right, people get complacent, but over time they will bend to the arguments as the weight of public opinion gathers force.

Valli Geiger

Representative, District 93: Rockland and Owls Head

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | May 31, 2021 09:34

"Do or do not there is no try" (Yoda)  Trying is simply an excuse for failure, "well I tried and failed, at least I tried".  Not faulting Valli, we have trained ourselves to accept failures.  Legislators will not act unless forced to do so.  Much like a Union will strike forcing an employer to negotiate.  Education committee members just returning form a trip to Mars would become aware the funding formula needs to be revised.  They have absolutely NO interest in changing anything untill you force them to do so.  School districts should not run State mandated programs until the State agrees to pay.

Posted by: Jonathan J Beitler | May 30, 2021 21:08

At least she tried....and she has increased awareness of the issue.

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