LD 1640 LR 0136(02)
An Act To Permit Charter Schools in Maine
Fiscal Note for Bill as Amended by Committee Amendment "   "
Committee: Education and Cultural Affairs
Fiscal Note Required: Yes
Minority Report
Fiscal Note
Undetermined current biennium cost increase - General Fund
Potential current biennium revenue increase - Federal Expenditures Fund
Projections Projections
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Federal Expenditures Fund $0 $500 $500 $500
Federal Expenditures Fund $0 $500 $500 $500
Fiscal Detail and Notes
This bill establishes a pilot program for charter schools as a new type of public school that will be part of the State's program of public education.  The requirement that all except up to 2% of the state and local funding associated with operating, other subsidizable and special education costs follow each child to the charter school the child attends may result in a significant redistribution of the funds available from the General Purpose Aid for Local Schools program.  The impact to individual school units can not be determined at this time.  Additionally, this legislation may affect the local share of funding K-12 education.  The impact can not be determined at this time and will depend on whether the per-pupil-cost to send a student to a charter school is higher or lower than sending the student to a non-charter school.    The additional cost to the Department of Education and the State Board of Education associated with implementing this legislation can not be determined at this time.
This bill allows for teachers in a non-charter school who are members of the Maine State Retirement System and take a leave of absence to teach in a charter school to continue to participate in the retirement system while on leave.  Although this legislation is not clear who will be responsible for the cost, the employee and employer contribution rate for those teachers must continue to be paid.
This bill includes a Federal Expenditures Fund allocation of $500 in fiscal year 2006-07 to establish a base allocation for any federal grants that may be received by the Department of Education for the Public Charter Schools Program.  State Educational Agencies (SEAs) are eligible to compete for grants if the State has a charter school law in place.  The amount of grants that may be received by the State can not be determined at this time.  However, according to information at the U.S. Department of Education's website, the average award for an SEA is $3,000,000 and ranges from approximately $500,000 to $8,000,000.  The grants provide up to 3 years of assistance for planning and implementation and SEAs may reserve up to 5% of the grant funds for administrative expenses related to operating the charter school program. 
Additional costs to the Maine State Retirement System associated with conducting the required review of retirement plans for participating local districts can be absorbed within the System's operating budget.
Additional costs to the Maine Labor Relations Board associated with this legislation can be absorbed within existing budgeted resources.