YES ON 2 increases state PreK funding by 15.2%
AUGUSTA, ME | OCTOBER 6, 2016 – PreK programs in Maine are not meeting the needs of students who need them the most. In 2015-16, nearly 29% (54 out of 188) of Maine school districts that enrolled kindergarten students had no PreK program. That means nearly 8,000 students enrolled in Kindergarten, but didn’t attend a public PreK, despite extensive research showing the benefits of high quality preschool. The lack of available programs, due to a lack of funding, is one of the major reasons so many students are left without the opportunity to attend a public PreK program.
“Question 2 provides increased funding needed for this crucial program,” said John Kosinski, Campaign Manager for YES ON 2. The campaign today released a white paper on what YES ON 2 means for PreK education in Maine. (Read the paper here.)
Currently, only 2% of Maine’s total allocation under the school funding formula is attributable to public preschool programs. The Stand Up for Students initiative, which is Question 2 on the November ballot, will increase funding for public schools by $157 million, bringing state funding up to the voter mandated 55% level. Of that additional funding, public PreK programs will see a 15.2% increase, which equates to $3.4 million more.
“Some rural and urban area school districts don’t have the funds to create a pre-k program in their schools,” said Suzen Polk-Hoffses, a PreK teacher in Milbridge. “Question 2 would provide rural and urban school districts the funds they would need to implement a quality pre-k program in their local schools.
In addition to increasing availability of PreK to school districts with current programs, Question 2 will also provide the funding for more school districts to start PreK programs and reach more four-year-olds in the communities in which they live.