Published: January 6, 2005
Maine is one of just two states that have passed measures limiting their involvement in the federal No Child Left Behind Act. While Maine will use federal money provided under the law, no state funds can be used to meet the act’s requirements. The state is analyzing the costs Maine incurs by participating in the NCLB law. Maine uses a foundation program based on four elements to distribute money to schools: operating costs, categorical programs, debt-service costs, and adjustments based on district characteristics. The foundation level for the operating-cost portion of the formula was $4,816 for fiscal 2005. Maine adjusts the foundation level based on a district’s fiscal capacity. But districts are required to raise their local shares, and state aid is adjusted by the amount raised by each district. For example, if a district raised 90 percent of the required amount, it would receive only 90 percent of the state share of the foundation level. The state makes adjustments in the formula for high-cost special education students, geographic isolation, and English-language learners. Maine provides money to schools through five categorical programs that support special education, early-childhood education, vocational education, transportation, and bus purchasing.
Vol. 24, Issue 17, Page 66