AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage is defending his education funding following harsh criticism by teachers and school administrators.

LePage said Tuesday his two-year budget that provides about $84 million more in state funding to schools compared to the education budget when he took office. He says decreases in education funding come from the loss of one-time federal stimulus money, not from the governor’s proposed budget.

The critics warned legislators Monday about school budget cuts, teacher layoffs and more students packed into classrooms as a result of budget cuts.

Dick Durost of the Maine’s Principal Association told lawmakers that shifting retirement costs to the local schools, combined with the end of revenue-sharing to local communities, put local taxpayers “in a no-win situation” of either raising taxes or cutting education programs.

 

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