All Maine taxpayers, particularly folks concerned with equity and quality of Maine public education, must pay attention to questions before the Commission to Strengthen the Adequacy and Equity of Certain Cost Components of the School Funding Formula. Fourteen education leaders — both elected officials and representatives from professional education associations, the Department of Education and State Board of Education — will meet into the fall to make recommendations to state policymakers.

The commission is looking at seven areas: public preschool programs, distribution and uses of funds to support economically disadvantaged students, professional development and collaborative time for teachers, labor market cost adjustments for teacher salaries, allowances for debt service for approved school construction, special education allocations to districts that are minimum subsidy receivers and teacher retirement costs.

Each of these areas is worthy of considerable discussion and debate, yet Maine media have covered the commission very little.

I encourage Maine taxpayers — especially educators — to review the documents available to the commission and follow its deliberations. Documents are available at www.maine.gov/doe/EPS-Commission-GLD1850/index.html.

As a teacher educator and former school board member in a high subsidy receiving school district, I am particularly interested in educator professional development as well as the extent to which the commission understands and acts in the interest of both student and taxpayer equity when considering the real needs of schools in economically depressed areas of the state. In school districts like the one in my home of Fairfield, providing allocations to minimum subsidy receivers while failing to meet 55 percent of Essential Programs and Services comes at a cost to our students.

I plan to send the commission detailed perspectives about several of its areas of study. I urge readers to contact the commission and their elected state representatives with their viewpoints regarding equity in the school funding formula.

Rep. Karen Kusiak

D-Fairfield

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