Maine Education Association Claims LePage Curtailment Devastating Schools 

The governor’s plan to cut more than $35 million to balance the current state budget is devastating to education, according to the Maine Education Association.The governor ordered the cuts after forecasts showed the state’s revenues were down.His plan includes cutting $13 million from the Department of Education.The President of the MEA, Lois Kilby-Chesley, says those cuts could mean teacher layoffs, higher property taxes, and teachers who are already spending their own money on school supplies will have to dig a little deeper.Kilby-Chesley says some schools are already lowering building heat to save money. “Is this really what we want for our children? Cold classrooms without the necessary materials to learn? I don’t think so. Mainers want great public schools for every Maine student,” Kilby-Chesley said Tuesday.Maine Education Commissioner Steve Bowen reacted to the allegations, saying they would prefer not to make cuts in the middle of the school year, but says it has to be done to deal with unprecedented fiscal challenges. “I think the Governor has made clear…it’s pretty tough to find $30 million worth of savings in the middle of a fiscal year in state government and not go to education to some degree,” Bowen said. House Republicans also weighed in on the debate. In a statement released after Tuesday’s press conference they pointed out that Maine spends about 25% more per student than the national average. The national average, according to a spokesman for the House Republicans, is $11,665 per pupil, and Maine spends $14,591.