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School Board Supports Ballot Question 2: ‘Stand Up for Students’

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School Board Supports Ballot Question 2: ‘Stand Up for Students’
Posted on 09/09/2016
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The Portland Board of Public Education voted unanimously this week to endorse “Stand Up for Students,” a citizens’ initiative on the state ballot this November that would generate an estimated $157 million more in state education funding.

If the Question 2 ballot measure passes on Nov. 8, Portland stands to get approximately $11 million in additional state aid.

At its Sept. 6 business meeting, the board passed a resolution that says, “BE IT RESOLVED, in order to ensure sustainable educational quality and fairness for local property taxpayers in Portland, the Portland Board of Public Education hereby supports Yes on 2, the Stand Up For Students citizen’s initiative to increase public school funding by $157 million through a three percent surcharge on incomes above $200,000, about two percent of Maine’s households.”

School board member Pious Ali told the board that if the initiative passes, “we will get the funding that we need. I encourage all of you to support the initiative.”

The resolution notes that, “in 2004, Maine voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum requiring the State of Maine to fully fund 55% of the cost of public education in order to ensure a strong public school system.” However, the resolution continues, “the commitment to fund 55% of the cost of public education has never been met, forcing local communities to shoulder most of the costs of maintaining Maine’s schools, often through increases in local property taxes and cuts to programs and services.”

The resolution details Portland’s education funding challenges in recent years, despite the district’s commitment to creating efficiencies, identifying cost-savings, and increasing revenue. The resolution says that “over $12 million in State Funding was curtailed or offset to Portland Public Schools, which led to layoffs to educators and personnel, cuts to valued programs and services, and local property tax increases.”

School board Chair Marnie Morrione noted that Question 2 is supported by groups that include the Maine Children’s Alliance; the Maine PTA; the Maine Association of School Libraries; and other school boards, municipal councils and legislators around the state.

To learn more about the Stand Up for Students ballot initiative, go to standupforstudentsmaine.org.