A coalition of parents, teachers, and organizations including the Maine Children’s Alliance held a news conference in Scarborough Friday to launch its campaign to pass an education funding referendum this fall.

Question 2 on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot will ask Maine voters if they want to add a 3 percent tax, or surcharge, on taxable individual incomes over $200,000 and use the revenue to support K-12 education.

The group, called Stand Up for Students, says it wants to bring tax fairness and equal educational opportunity to all Maine students. It says the ballot initiative will raise roughly $157 million in state funding for public education that has been chronically underfunded.

In 2004, voters demanded the state cover 55 percent of the total cost of public education, but that requirement has never been met. Stand Up for Students argues that, as a result, communities have had to raise property taxes or cut programs to make up the difference. And that means children in wealthier communities have better educational opportunities than students in other communities, it says.

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