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Since 1873 Maine has financed the education of thousands of kindergarten through 12th grade students in private schools. In fact, the state pays tuition for 35 percent of all students enrolled in Maine's private schools. The tuition program enables parents in towns without a traditional public school to choose a school from a list of approved private and public schools, enroll their child, and have the town pay that child's tuition up to an authorized amount. The town then receives full or partial reimbursement from the state. In the fall of 1999, 5,614 students from 55 different communities attended private schools through this program, while 30,412 attended nearby public schools. Schools of choice ranged from regular public schools to local academies such as Waynflete School in Portland, Maine, to boarding schools ranging from Choate and Phillips Exeter in New England to Vail Valley Academy in Colorado. Data from the Maine Department of Education suggest that the tuition program costs roughly $6,000 per student, or 20 percent less than Maine's average per pupil expenditure for public education.
Time and time again citizens have voted to keep this system that has been described as "the most valued attribute" of living in Maine. It's unfortunate that one of the best features of Maine's educational system is limited to students who live in the "right" towns. Maine's policymakers should seek to facilitate greater educational opportunities for all students, and policymakers nationwide should look to Maine's extensive experience with vouchers to inform their education reform efforts.
John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development;
Consolidation of 9-1-1 emergency communications is a politically charged issue full of opportunities and pitfalls for state policymakers. Typically, consolidation reduces the number of locally managed Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) by combining operations of several communications centers.1 The process may also result in a reduction in the number of sites that dispatch police, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) response units. If the process is handled well, it can lead to efficiencies and improved service for citizens. If not handled well, it can disrupt vital services and increase tensions among state and local authorities. As New Jersey leaders consider further consolidation of the 9-1-1 system, they should take into account the experience of other states.
This report is the result of the Heldrich Center's research on trends in consolidation. A central goal of this research is to throw light on different approaches to encouraging consolidation and lessons that may inform New Jersey's future strategy. Telephone interviews were conducted with officials in six states and two regions that have experience with consolidation of answering and dispatch points (See Map below). The states are Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin.2 The two regions are Cook County, Illinois and Volusia County, Florida. In addition, researchers reviewed state reports and public documents. The methodology is described in the appendix.
The Heldrich Center's research yielded a range of findings on the experience of other states:
- States have tended to support local con solidation by providing financial incentives, setting standards, and providing technical assistance. There are few examples of state policies that require rather than encourage PSAPs to merge operations. In fact, none of the states in the study employs a direct mandate. Some states have played a limited or virtually no role in supporting local consolidation.
- The states and regions included in this study differ on many dimensions, but they share a common experience with consolidation of 9-1-1 services. State and regional officials cite the same barriers to consolidation and point to similar models of effective practices.
- Although states can play a role, consolidation is, in essence, a local process driven by local decision-makers. Local elected officials are likely to drive con solidation if they recognize the benefits. Governance and accountability are thorny issues that must be worked out locally.
The results of consolidation are not well documented. Examples of cost savings are more commonly cited at the state level than at the local level. Estimates of cost savings related to personnel are particularly elusive. State and regional officials strongly believe that consolidation leads to improved service, although it is not clear how improved service is measured.
This analysis estimates the impact of allowing same-sex couples to marry on Maine's state budget. We estimate that allowing same-sex couples to marry will result in a net gain of approximately $7.9 million each year for the State. This net impact will be the result of savings in expenditures on state means-tested public benefits programs and an increase in revenue from state sales and income taxes and marriage license fees. Throughout this report, we estimate the economic impact of weddings conservatively. In other words, we choose assumptions that are cautious from the State's perspective in that they tend to produce lower revenues and higher expenditures given the range of possibilities. Even so, we find that the effect of allowing same-sex couples to marry in Maine is an annual positive fiscal impact of approximately $7.9 million.
National Foster Care Coalition;
This publication examines how the Chafee educational and training vouchers and other state-based supports for higher education have been working for these young adults. The National Foster Care Coalition (NFCC) has worked closely with six states to examine the implementation of the Chafee ETV Program since its inception in 2003: California, Maine, Montana, New York, North Carolina, and Wyoming. These states were selected to provide a diverse view of ETV program implementation, including state- and county-administered child welfare programs, urban and rural programs, and programs serving either very large or very small populations of youth. This publication documents a select number of young people's experiences with the ETV program and also shares recommendations from constituents and other stakeholders on how to improve this unique and important postsecondary education and training program.
John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development;
This March 2010 brief provides an overview of labor market information, outlines how it can be used to inform and improve state and local "to-work" activities for people with disabilities, and identifies publicly available information sources that produce the data. Finally, it highlights a strategic partnership between the state of Maine's labor department and disability service providers that helps disability employment staff to integrate labor market information and tools into their practice.
This research study estimates that same-sex marriage in Maine, if permitted, would have a positive impact on the state's economy and budget. The study finds that same-sex weddings and associated tourism would generate $60 million in additional spending in Maine over three years, creating 1,000 new jobs. Due to this spending, the state and Maine counties would see an increase of $3.6 million in revenues over the next three years; the result of an increase of sales tax revenues of approximately $3.1 million and new marriage license fees of $500,000. In calculating the net benefit to the State, the study approximates that half of Maine's 4,644 same-sex couples, or 2,316 couples, would marry in the first three years that marriage is extended to them. The study also estimates that approximately 15,657 same-sex couples from other states would come to Maine to marry.
John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development;
The intent of this study is to identify state policies and procedures that are designed to ensure
that people with disabilities and/or parents with children with disabilities are provided the
opportunity to participate in state TANF programs. The intent is not to present "best practices," with quantifiable and measurable outcomes. Many state TANF programs are still in their early stages, with new programs being developed and outcomes still uncertain. The intent is to present an in-depth "snapshot" of what is occurring right now at the state level in terms of services and programs designed to assist TANF recipients with disabilities. Are states developing programs and policies specifically targeted toward people with disabilities? Are people with disabilities being served on an individual basis as part of the overall TANF population? Are states developing innovative strategies that particularly benefit TANF recipients with disabilities and, if so, what are they? By identifying these strategies, this report may assist other states in their policy development process in support of people with disabilities and parents with children of disabilities.
Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest);
This report presents information on the clients and agencies served by The Good Shepherd Food Bank. The information is drawn from a national study, Hunger in America 2010, conducted in 2009 for Feeding America (FA) (formerly America's Second Harvest), the nation's largest organization of emergency food providers. The national study is based on completed inperson interviews with more than 62,000 clients served by the FA national network, as well as on completed questionnaires from more than 37,000 FA agencies. The study summarized below focuses on emergency food providers and their clients who are supplied with food by food banks in the FA network.
The FA system served by The Good Shepherd Food Bank provides emergency food for an estimated 107,900 different people annually.41% of the members of households served by The Good Shepherd Food Bank are children under 18 years old (Table 5.3.2).30% of households include at least one employed adult (Table 5.7.1).Among households with children, 72% are food insecure and 44% are food insecure with very low food security (Table 184.108.40.206).56% of clients served by The Good Shepherd Food Bank report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel (Table 6.5.1).40% had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care (Table 6.5.1).32% of households served by The Good Shepherd Food Bank report having at least one household member in poor health (Table 8.1.1)The Good Shepherd Food Bank included approximately 585 agencies at the administration of this survey, of which 428 have responded to the agency survey. Of the responding agencies, 275 had at least one food pantry, soup kitchen, or shelter.56% of pantries, 49% of kitchens, and 32% of shelters are run by faith-based agencies affiliated with churches, mosques, synagogues, and other religious organizations (Table 10.6.1).Among programs that existed in 2006, 81% of pantries, 68% of kitchens, and 65% of shelters of The Good Shepherd Food Bank reported that there had been an increase since 2006 in the number of clients who come to their emergency food program sites (Table 10.8.1).Food banks are by far the single most important source of food for agencies with emergency food providers, accounting for 76% of the food distributed by pantries, 57% of the food distributed by kitchens, and 58% of the food distributed by shelters (Table 13.1.1).As many as 96% of pantries, 87% of kitchens, and 70% of shelters in The Good Shepherd Food Bank use volunteers (Table 13.2.1).
Maine Community Foundation;
"Measuring Up," the first in a series of reports that will reflect on progress of the Maine Community Foundation's Plan for the Future, focuses on work in education and place.