55% School Funding, FINALLY

Governor Mills followed through on her promise to Maine’s educators and voters and proposed the State fund 55% of the cost of public schools. In total, the proposal from the Governor would increase State funding for public schools by $187 million over the next two school years, including setting sufficient funding aside to maintain the 55% commitment for the 2022-2023 school year.

For more than 15 years, the MEA has forcefully advocated for 55% State funding for public schools, as voters mandated in 2004 and again in 2016. MEA advocated, collected signatures, spoke with voters, and helped pass these important ballot initiatives, only to see them delayed and even repealed by some members of our Legislature and our previous Governor.

The proposal from Governor Mills is the first time a Governor has proposed full 55% State funding for schools, which will not only help local schools but also help alleviate the pressure on property taxes.

MEA Members Selected as County Teachers of the Year

Congratulations to all the teachers named County Teachers of the Year, including the following MEA members:

  • Jessica Harvey (RSU 16 EA)
  • Paige Fournier (Coastal EA)
  • Michelle Laliberte (Rangeley TA)
  • Sarah Doremus (Sedwick EA)
  • Patti Forster (Megunticook TA (SAD 28))
  • Bill Hinkley (Medomak EA)
  • Melissa Guerrette (Oxford Hills EA (SAD 17))
  • Lisa Martell (SAD 04 TA)
  • Lianna Fenimore (Merrymeeting TA (SAD 75)
  • Hillary Hoyt (EA 22)

As part of the Maine Teacher of the Year Program, hundreds of teachers across Maine are nominated by a member of their school community. Through a rigorous application process, one teacher from each county is selected as the County Teacher of the Year by a panel of teachers, principals, and business community members within the county.

Discounted Online Courses

Through a partnership with Virtual Education Software (VESi) and the University of Maine at Presque Isle, the MEA is pleased to offer an annual subscription program which gives members access to continuing education courses at a significant savings. This is a members-only exclusive offer that saves you up to $615 a year. Choose from over 30 online courses for re-certification/authorization renewal, with the opportunity to earn up to 13.5 CEUs over the course of the year. Courses range in topics from behavior management to educational assessment to language acquisition for English Language Learners and more. Learn online at your own pace from the convenience of your home. FMI: maineea.org.

Success in Aroostook County

All leaders in Aroostook County are to be commended for their extraordinary work in very trying circumstances. Below is a small sample of how ESSER/pandemic-related funds helped educators and schools.

SAD 1 (Presque Isle) – Association advocacy resulted in a $2,362.50 payment this spring for each teacher from ESSER monies to compensate for the extra work associated with having a remote workload on top of a full in-person schedule. This payment was in addition to $1,200 per teacher negotiated by the Association at the beginning of the school year and an additional $31.50 for five hours per week for each teacher that was paid between mid-October and the end of December.

SAD 33 (Frenchville) – Association persistence paid off in every employee receiving the amount of one week’s pay as additional compensation from ESSER funds for additional work this year associated with the pandemic.

RSU 29 (Houlton) – Every employee received the amount of one week’s pay as additional compensation from ESSER funds for additional work this year associated with the pandemic.

SAD 70 (Hodgdon) – Teachers have received up to 10 hours of additional pay per week at $23 an hour for extra work related to remote learning students. Still, teachers were facing burnout with the extra work and Association advocacy resulted in two remote-only staff being hired in January that teachers had the option to transition their remote-only students to.