Following the state’s receipt of the Picus report on Maine school funding and Picus Associates’ proposed alternative ‘EB Model’, here are my recommendations on how we on the Education Committee should proceed:
EB vs EPS: modeling the comprehensive cost of adequate equitable educational opportunity:
- Retain concept of Essential Programs and Services in concept as basis of model that is evaluated as level of funding necessary to give all students the opportunity to meet the evolving Maine Learning Results.
- Employ EB model and Picus report as intermediate evidence of present adequacy and inadequacy of present EPS model — with immediate priority given to:
- Representing professional development and collaborative time necessary to implement proficiency-based learning.
- Implementing expanded capacity for universal voluntary early education.
- Ensuring equity of opportunity for economically disadvantaged students and communities by reevaluating:
- EPS labor market ratios vs. Comparable Wage Index.
- Validity of EPS economically-disadvantaged adjustment.
- EPS assumptions about augmentation of Title 1 federal funds.
- Recommit to ongoing, rolling, evidence-based evaluation of components of EPS.
EQUITY AND CAPACITY: distribution of funding:
- Collaborate with Taxation Committee to improve local equity in school funding by revitalizing state-funding of income-based circuit-breaker property tax refunds.
- Link minimum special ed subsidy percentage (currently at 30% and originally targeted at 100%) directly to state’s progress towards meeting obligation to fund 55% of education.
- Provide state-level funding for state-approved charter schools.
- Remove unfunded actuarial liability from state calculation of the cost of education.
OVERALL STATE SUPPORT:
- Advocate for adequate overall level of state funding for education towards 55% of 100% of EPS.