The saying goes “to the victor goes the spoils,” and that’s apparently how Senate President Kevin Raye read the results of the last election.

Before adjourning the Legislature last week, the second most powerful individual in Augusta engineered a close final vote in the state Senate that repealed a few elements of the school funding formula in a way designed to send more money back to districts such as his in Washington County.

Raye says changes were needed to end a “biased and unfair funding formula” that results in the “round peg of rural Maine being pounded in the square hole of an urban funding formula.” But it looks more like a political heavyweight starting an unhealthy sectional competition to benefit his district.

Maine is not a “rural” state any more than it is an “urban” one. It is a state with a range of different circumstances, each with its own needs and challenges. What they all have in common is children who are entitled to a public education.

Ray’s bill makes three changes to the law, each of which advantages some rural districts at the expense of urban ones:

* It ends the practice of considering the local cost of living when reimbursing for employee compensation.

* It increases the allowed non-teacher staff-to-student ratio for small school districts.

* It increases the state subsidy for property-rich communities, such as those with a large number of expensive seasonal homes, that have low-income residents.

Raye says the changes will return money that was taken from districts like his when the formula was written. Sen. Justin Alfond, D-Portland, says the changes will take money from urban districts. He estimates that Portland alone would lose almost $1 million, and others would face similar losses.

The goal should be a funding formula that is fair to both sides, and inflaming this regional rivalry is not going to accomplish that.

The problem faced by rural Maine is not that urban schools are over-funded (they are not). The problem shared by all districts is a funding formula designed to distribute state aid at a level of 55 percent of total spending — a benchmark Maine has never been close to reaching and one not likely to be achieved anytime soon.

If the legislative leaders think it’s time to revise the school funding formula, they should look at the whole formula, rather than strong-arm a few changes into the law on the last day of the session. Stirring up resentment of city dwellers might be good politics, but it’s bad process.

The whole state deserved better.

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