Funded: State Policy Analysis

A Detailed Look at Each State's Funding Policies

Below, see summaries of the state’s education funding policy in each issue area. Click the Expand icon next to any summary to see more detail, if available, about that state’s policy regarding that issue area. Click the Citation icon
next to any summary to see the sources of the information regarding that issue area.
Maine
Funding Basics
Formula Type

Maine has a hybrid funding formula incorporating both resource-based and student-based elements.  

The state determines the cost of delivering education in a district based on the cost of the resources, such as staff salaries and course materials, required to do so, and divides that cost by the district’s enrollment to determine a per-student cost.  This cost is then used as a base amount.  The state accounts for the additional cost of educating specific categories of students both through program-specific allocations and by applying multipliers to the base amount to generate supplemental funding for certain students.

The categories of students generating supplemental funding in Maine are students in certain grade levels, low-income students, English language learners, students with disabilities, and students attending small schools sparsely populated districts.  Services for students identified as gifted and students enrolled in career and technical education programs are funded through program-specific allocations.

source(s):

Source 1

Base Amount

Maine has a base funding amount per student that varies from district to district. For FY2016, the base amount ranged from $5,238 to $7,649.

This means that an average student with no special needs or disadvantages would be funded within that range. Differences arise from the structure of Maine’s funding formula, which accounts for the costs of certain inputs in each of the state’s geographic regions.

For each district, elementary and secondary students are counted; resource costs for staff, benefits, and other supports are calculated based on the number of students and on the state’s teacher compensation system, which pays teachers in accordance with their training and experience.  (There are also set salaries for other school staff members, along with associated amounts for benefits.)  Once all staff costs for a district have been calculated, line-item costs are added for other inputs, including supplies, support services, and maintenance.  The resulting cost is adjusted for the regional cost of living.  This total number is then divided by the number of pupils in the district to provide a district-specific base amount.

source(s):

Source 1

Expected Local Share

Maine expects its municipalities to raise revenue to support their public schools. The amount each municipality is expected to raise is based either on its property values or on a share of the amount calculated by the state to be necessary to educate students within its local school district.

School districts in Maine generally encompass multiple towns in Maine. Each town is expected to contribute either $8.48 for every thousand dollars of assessed local property wealth, or a share of the district’s total needed funding in proportion to the number of district students residing in the district, whichever is less.

Once the state calculates the total amount of funding necessary to educate students within a district, it subtracts the expected local contribution and provides the difference in the form of state education aid. However, school districts in Maine that choose to do so may raise more, though not less, money locally than the expected amount.

source(s):

Source 1

Student Characteristics
Grade Level

Maine provides a greater amount of funding for students in grades K-2 only. It does so by applying a multiplier of 1.1 to the base per-pupil amount for students in these grades.

Students in grades 3-12 are funded at the base amount.

source(s):

Source 1

English-Language Learner

Maine provides increased funding for English language learners. It does so by applying a multiplier to the base per-pupil amount for these students.  The precise multiplier used varies depending on the number of students in the district not proficient in English.

For school districts with fewer than 15 English language learners, a multiplier of 1.7 is applied to the base amount; for districts with between 16 and 250 English language learners, a multiplier of 1.5 is applied; and for districts with greater than 250 English language learners, a multiplier of 1.525 is applied.

The multiplier is applied after the base amount is adjusted for local cost of living.

source(s):

Source 1

Student Poverty

Maine provides increased funding for students from low-income households.  It does so by applying a multiplier of 1.15 to the base per-pupil amount for these students.

This multiplier is applied to a base per-pupil amount that is specific to the district and depends on regional differences in cost. Students are eligible for this supplemental funding if they qualify for free or reduced-price lunch (FRL) under the National School Lunch Program.

source(s):

Source 1

Special Education

Maine funds special education using a multiple student weights system, providing different levels of funding for different groups of students. Students are assigned to 3 different categories based on the concentrations of students with disabilities in their districts.

It does so by applying different multipliers to the per-student base amount for students in these groups. Specifically, students with disabilities up to 15% of district enrollment are are funded at a level equal to the per-student base amount multiplied by 1.315; above that threshold, they are funded at a level equal to the per-student base amount multiplied by 1.695. In districts with fewer than 20 students identified as disabled, the appropriate multiplier is increased by 0.29.

These multipliers are applied to district-specific per-student base amounts that reflect local costs. There are also adjustments made for especially high-cost students, and to ensure maintenance of state effort from year to year.

Gifted

Maine provides additional resources for gifted students. It does so in the form of a non-competitive grant.

To determine the amount of money to be appropriated for this purpose, the state uses the most recent audited report of financial data for approved actual expenses, or the approved budget, whichever is less, and then applies a multiplier for inflation.

source(s):

Source 1

Career and Technical Education

Maine provides specific funding for career and technical education (CTE) programs. It does so through a program-based allocation, the amount of which is determined using districts’ most recent audited reports of approved CTE expenses, adjusted for inflation.

source(s):

Source 1

Community Characteristics
District Poverty

Maine does not provide increased funding based on the concentration of students from low-income households in a particular district.

Sparsity and/or Small Size

Maine provides increased funding to isolated, small schools by applying a multiplier to the base per-pupil amount that varies from district to district.

The amount of the multiplier is the result of adjusting the necessary student-to-staff ratios, the per-pupil amount for operation and maintenance of plant, or other essential programs and services components.

To qualify as a small elementary school, a Pre-K-8 school must have fewer than 15 students per grade level and a non-Pre-K-8 school must have fewer than 29 students per grade level. All small elementary schools must be more than 8 miles from the nearest other elementary school. Isolated small secondary schools must have fewer than 200 students and be more than an average of 10 miles from the nearest other high school. Island schools are also eligible for this funding.

source(s):

Source 1
Personal communication from Tyler Backus, School Finance and Compliance Coordinator, Maine Department of education, on 5/24/16