The Maine Department of Education made an error that has resulted in an extra $3.6 million for the Portland School System, the Portland Finance Committee revealed Tuesday night.
“Literally moments ago before we came into this meeting we got an update from the state pertaining to our funding and essentially the Mil rate across the state dropped due to an error at the state level,” said Interim Co-Superintendent Melea Nalli.
“And so, it’s good news. It’s resulting in a $3.6 million shift in terms of what we were previously expected,” Nalli said.
Several other school systems in the state have told some lawmakers that changes in Mil rates are causing the opposite problem.
The Lewiston school system, for example, has learned that they will be receiving much less money, though the total amount of the funding change is not currently public knowledge.
The Maine Wire has reached out to the Maine Department of Education for more information about the nature of the error and how it has been handled.
We will update this story if more information is forthcoming.
The Maine Department of Education sent out the following information as a priority notice this morning:
Today, the Department is releasing updated, and final, ED 279 reports for School Administrative Units (SAUs). These final reports reflect a lower mil rate of 6.9 percent, which means more funding for your local schools.
As you know, the Department issues preliminary ED 279 reports in January as SAUs prepare to undergo your local budgeting processes. Following the release of these preliminary reports, the Department undertakes a rigorous review of the reports to ensure accuracy before finalizing them.
This week, that ongoing review identified a duplicative data entry in the algorithm that generates the funding estimates in the reports. The duplicative data entry inaccurately inflated the mill rate in the preliminary reports.
The Department has removed the duplicative data entry, and the subsequent calculation produced a lower mil rate – 6.9 percent. This lower mil rate should mean more State funding for your local schools, thereby mitigating the amount of funding needed from local property taxpayers.