Immediate Federal Cuts Hitting Maine Schools Hard

Marion Herbert's picture
Monday, November 21, 2011

Under the short-term spending measure passed in October, Congress cut federal funds for special education, disadvantaged youth programs, teacher improvement programs and career and technical education.

Maine Education Commissioner Steve Bowen said the cuts total nearly $1.5 million in Maine and have already taken effect.

“We are doing what we can to minimize the impact on local schools,” he said. “But we can only absorb so much within our existing funds.”

Bowen said his department is absorbing a $600,000 cut under the Individuals with Disabilities Act, which provides $6.2 million to Maine. He said the cut will be absorbed by funds earmarked for state administration and technical assistance.

“But we couldn’t absorb the $700,000 in Title 1 money,” he said. “That will go back on the school districts.”

That money is targeted for disadvantaged youths and could affect supplies and some teacher and education technician positions. The state was slated to receive $52.4 million before the cut was adopted.

In addition, two smaller programs were hit under the federal rescission. Professional development for teachers was funded at the $11.3 million level and the cut is for $120,000. School districts will be notified how much they are losing from what they expected to receive.

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