For decades — and still today — public schools in Maine have been funded overwhelmingly through property tax revenues and state educational subsidies.
But those funding sources are under constant pressure from taxpayers and lawmakers seeking to trim budgets and save money.
The draft Portland Public Schools budget for fiscal year 2017, for instance, factored in a $2.7 million cut in state aid — the kind of sharp change not uncommon from year-to-year,
Generally speaking, when schools are faced with the prospect of funding cuts, they circle the wagons around core subjects and classroom essentials. The state uses what it calls the Essential Programs & Services model to determine what each district receives in subsidies, and funds the necessities, but not coming close to funding what even the state would consider a comprehensive education.