Fully Funding Education by Taxing the Wealthy

Fully Funding Education by Taxing the Wealthy


The Stand Up for Students ballot initiative increases state funding for public education for grades K-12 by creating a surcharge on households with income greater than $200,000. The Stand Up for Students ballot initiative:

  • Creates a 3% surcharge on household income over $200,000 i.e. for every $1,000 in income over $200K, taxpayer pays $30 additional dollars

  • Generates an estimated $157 million more for public schools statewide

  • Requires funding from the surcharge be used for direct classroom instruction, including teachers, school nurses and other critical public school personnel

  • Provides property tax relief while increasing school funding

  • Surcharge impacts approximately 2% of all Maine households

  • Benefits of the surcharge help more than 185,000 public school students across the state


We believe lawmakers should support this initiative publicly, and ensure no bills are passed to undermine this reform once voters approve it.


Why Now?


In 2004, through a ballot initiative voters asked the State to fund 55% of the total cost of education. To this day, that funding requirement has never been met. Instead, according to figures from the Department of Education, for the last six years funding for public schools has not kept up with the costs of running those schools. In 2015-16, the state is only paying 47.5% of the total cost of education.


The cost of education increased by 2.6% in the current school year, according to the Maine Department of Education; funding did not keep up with that increase. Also in the current school year, the State fell $154 million short of reaching the 55% funding level.


The lack of funding at 55% equates to a cumulative loss in state funding for public schools of $1.2 Billion since 2008.


When the State fails to pay its share of school funding, our children and our communities suffer. Cities and towns have to make up the difference, often by raising property taxes, cutting services, or both. It’s time for the State of Maine to keep its promise to Maine children and Maine communities so that every child can get a great education at a great public school.


Impact on School Districts


If the Stand Up for Students ballot initiative is successful, schools across the state will see increases in state funding for their students. The initiative will generate an estimated $157 million more per year to begin with in state funding and is expected to increase over time. Below are some examples of the impact the additional state funding would have on individual districts. These increases are additional state funding that would have been received by each district in the 2015-2016 year if the initiative was in effect.

  • Auburn $2,784,294

  • Augusta $2,137,657

  • Bangor $3,507,275

  • Biddeford $3,301,761

  • Ellsworth $1,493,538

  • Lewiston $3,154,086

  • Portland $10,813,871

  • Sanford $2,019,675

  • Scarborough $5,044,590

  • RSU 17 (Oxford Hills) $3,189,550

  • RSU 54 (Skowhegan) $2,321,485

  • RSU 39 (Caribou) $649,179


*Figures based on a mill rate expectation of 6.8


For more information: http://standupforstudentsmaine.org/