This week, Governor Janet Mills joined Maine’s students and parents in celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week. Since taking office, Gov. Mills has been a strong ally of Maine’s teachers, raising their wages, fully funding their schools, and dedicating millions of dollars to the school renovation fund. Governor Mills’ strong record of supporting educators is a breath of fresh air after her predecessor, Paul LePage.
When in office, LePage constantly feuded with Maine teachers, whom he called “a dime a dozen.” After insisting there were too many public school teachers in Maine, LePage spent years proposing cutting millions from public education funding, with teachers denouncing several of his budgets. LePage also underfunded the share of state funding for schools by more than $1 billion, forcing municipalities to raise property taxes to properly fund schools. As a result of these attacks on teachers, LePage was dubbed an “enemy of public education” by the Press Herald editorial board.
“Maine is lucky to not only have wonderful and inspiring teachers in our classrooms, but to have a Governor in Janet Mills who has worked hard to ensure those teachers have the resources they need to support Maine’s students,” said Drew Gattine, Chair of the Maine Democratic Party. “Paul LePage, on the other hand, spent his time in office insulting our teachers and trying to make their lives more difficult in and outside the classroom. We can’t go back to a governor who has such little respect for such an important group of Maine people.”
After taking over from LePage in 2019, Governor Mills has worked with Democrats in the legislature to replace the stream of insults directed at teachers from the Blaine House with a series of policies to improve teachers’ lives and ensure they have the resources they and their students need. That includes:
Raising the minimum teacher salary to a living wage of $40,000
Meeting the state’s obligation to provide 55% of school funding in the state, becoming the first Governor to ever do so
Passing Sen. Troy Jackson’s bill to make school meals free for all students, becoming one of the first states in the country to so