AUGUSTA – Legislation from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, to provide funding for the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone, cleared the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee with bipartisan support on Tuesday.
LD 1458, An Act to Increase Funding for the Maine School of Science and Mathematics would provide additional funding to support the magnet school. The legislation was amended directing MSSM to report back to the Legislature on enrollment and other metrics next year.
“The Maine School of Science and Mathematics provides an incredible service to Maine students and families. It has been recognized as one of the best public schools in the nation for years, although that reputation is at risk. This vote of support by the Education Committee is an important step forward to provide the fiscal support needed to keep MSSM at the top of the pack,” said Pres. Jackson. “I’m grateful for the work of Sam Critchlow and school leadership for their work crafting a thoughtful and comprehensive plan of support that will ensure future students and families can continue to benefit from the remarkable education MSSM provides.”
The legislation represents an effort to help the nationally renowned public education institution amid rising costs and growing inflation. Unlike other public schools in the state, MSSM is flat funded which makes it difficult to respond to current economic conditions that have effectively reduced the institution’s operating budget.
“As an alumnus of MSSM and now Executive Director, I’ve seen first hand the impact that an MSSM has on students and families across Maine,” said Sam Critchlow, Executive Director of MSSM. “Bringing the school up to date with funding levels will allow us to continue and improve the accessibility and excellence of our campus life and curriculum.”
The additional funding would support teaching and support staff positions that had been eliminated due to budget constraints and maintenance expenses. It would also eliminate the room and board fees paid by Maine families.
The bill will now go before the full legislature for initial votes.