News

No more excuses. Fund our schools!

What will it take for Republicans to uphold the will of the voters and fully fund our schools?

In 2004, voters passed an initiative demanding the state fund 55% of the cost of public schools. The Legislature never did that.

In 2016, voters passed Question 2 – a ballot initiative to finally fully fund our schools by asking the wealthiest Mainers, those making over $200,000 per year, to pay a little more.

Now, Republican legislators are threatening to overturn the will of the voters. Not only do they want to repeal Question 2, they have made it clear that they do not have an alternative plan to fully fund our schools.

Time is ticking. If a state budget is not sent to the Governor by June 19th, a state shutdown will likely occur. Now is the time to let your representatives know that you expect the budget sent to Governor LePage to fully fund education - no more excuses.

Here are the key Republicans standing in the way of fully funding our schools:


Sen. Mike Thibodeau, Republican Senate President
Waldo County
State House Office Phone: Senate President's Office (207) 287-1500
Email: Michael.Thibodeau@legislature.maine.gov

  • As Senate President, Thibodeau is a key player in budget negotiations.
  • At private events in January, Sen. Thibodeau promised to fund schools at 55% but advocated for a full repeal of Question 2. Since then, he has provided NO alternate plan to fully fund our schools.
  • Sen. Thibodeau recently told the Press Herald he is willing to provide $95 million for schools only if the Democrats agree to undo the surcharge. This amounts to a $200 million cut to education funding, since Question 2 is current law and is expected to generate over $320 million for our public schools across the state.

Sen. Jim Hamper, Republican Chair, Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee
Oxford County
State House Office Phone: Senate Republican Office (207) 287-1505
Email: James.Hamper@legislature.maine.gov

  • As the Senate Republican Chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee, Sen. Hamper is another key player in budget negotiations.
  • Schools in Sen. Hamper's district are experiencing huge budget shortfalls due to the Governor's proposed state budget, but so far he has made virtually no public statements about the state budget and what he will support.

Sen. Roger Katz
Augusta, China, Oakland, Sidney, Vassalboro
State House Office Phone: Senate Republican Office (207) 287-1505
Email: Roger.Katz@legislature.maine.gov

  • Like Sen. Hamper, Sen. Katz sits on the powerful Appropriations Committee and will have a hand in writing the two-year state budget.
  • Sen. Katz has told constituents he will fight to overturn the will of the voters and repeal Question 2.
  • During a public meeting of the Appropriations Committee, Sen. Katz said the state should include the cost of unfunded pension obligations as part of the cost of public education. This is nothing more than an accounting gimmick to make it appear as if the state is meeting its obligation to schools, and won't send one more penny to schools.
  • Sen. Katz's proposal would increase property taxes by $80 million all across the state, because including the state's pension obligation simply passes the costs onto property tax payers - a tactic we have seen time and time again in Augusta.

Rep. Ken Fredette, House Republican Leader
District 100 - Corinna, Dixmont, Etna (part), Newport and Plymouth
House Republican Office: (207) 287-1440
State House Message Phone: (800) 423-2900
E-Mail: Kenneth.Fredette@legislature.maine.gov

  • Republican House Leader Ken Fredette is among the most vocal opponents of fully funding education and has consistently argued to overturn the will of the voters.
  • Rep. Fredette has said that House Republicans will not accept more funding for schools.

Rep. Tom Winsor, House Leader Appropriations Committee
District 71 - Norway, Sweden, Waterford and West Paris
House Republican Office: (207) 287-1440 
Fax: (207) 527-2233 
E-Mail: Tom.Winsor@legislature.maine.gov

  • Rep. Winsor is a seasoned veteran in the State House, and has taken part in several budget negotiations as a member of the Appropriations Committee.
  • This session, Rep. Winsor has refused to talk about the Republican budget plan.
  • On May 30th, the Appropriations Committee gathered to exchange proposals for funding our schools. Rep. Winsor refused to talk about the Republican budget proposal. Instead, he told the Bangor Daily News he supports the Governor's budget, which undoes Question 2 and underfunds our schools by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Rep. Stedman Seavey
District 9 - Biddeford (part), Kennebunk (part) and Kennebunkport
House Republican Office: (207) 287-1440 
E-Mail: Stedman.Seavey@legislature.maine.gov

  • Rep. Seavey is another Republican member of the Appropriations Committee.
  • Rep. Seavey has been refusing to meet with constituents to talk about the state budget, despite multiple calls to his office.

Rep. Heather Sirocki
District 28 - Scarborough (part)
House Republican Office: (207) 287-1440 
E-Mail: Heather.Sirocki@legislature.maine.gov

  • Rep. Sirocki is another termed out member of the Appropriations Committee.
  • Rep. Sirocki represents Scarborough, where property tax increases resulting from the state's chronic underfunding of our schools have made the state budget a heated topic among her constituents.

Rep. Jeff Timberlake
District 75 - Leeds, Livermore (part) and Turner
House Republican Office: (207) 287-1440 
E-Mail: Jeffrey.Timberlake@legislature.maine.gov

  • Many weeks ago, Rep. Timberlake's quote to the Bangor Daily News started talk of a government shutdown when he drew a line in the sand over fully funding schools.

There you are. These are the elected officials standing in the way of fully funding our schools. They are holding the budget process hostage and refuse to uphold the will of the voters - if we want to make progress, it will require public pressure from Mainers who support Question 2.

Stay tuned, stay active.