February 8, 2013

Progress made on plan to fix Maine budget shortfall

But differences emerge on proposals by the governor on charter school funding and aid to cities and towns.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
State House Bureau

and Michael Shepherd mshepherd@mainetoday.com
State House Bureau

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

In this file photo, people move through the third floor between the House and Senate chambers at the State House in Augusta. The Maine Legislature's budget-writing committee made progress Thursday on an emergency spending plan to fix Maine's $153 million budget shortfall.

Joe Phelan / Staff Photographer

Democrats on the Education Committee opposed that, and included the state's two operating charter schools -- Cornville Regional Charter School and the Maine Academy of Natural Science at Good Will-Hinckley -- in a small round of cuts.

In November, the Morning Sentinel reported that a total of 107 students went to the two schools, and while the Hinckley school drew students -- and by extension money -- from 27 districts, the Cornville school drew from five.

The committee's decision drew the ire of LePage, Stephen Bowen and Sawin Millett, the governor's education and finance commissioners.

LePage said it was "a failure to put our students first," and Bowen said Democrats "want charter schools to fail."

Millett dubbed the decision "an inequitable overreach" that is "fiscally inconsequential" to the budget process.

The Appropriations Committee has already made some changes to the governor's proposal. The panel has unanimously endorsed a measure to restore $700,000 to the state's adoption subsidy program.

Still under consideration are proposals to eliminate the state's Drugs for the Elderly Program, as well as a $1.7 million cut in mental health services and $4.2 million for state-funded adoption and foster care services.

Michael Shepherd can be contacted at 370-7652 or at:


Steve Mistler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:


On Twitter: @stevemistler


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