School boards that have been grappling with deep budget cuts for next fiscal year got a $20 million shot in the arm March 3, as Gov. John Baldacci announced he was restoring that much money in General Purpose Aid to the fiscal 2011 budget.

And health and human services programs, which had been facing $67.8 million in state budget cuts, got more than half their cuts restored as Baldacci announced he was putting back $37 million into their coffers. That includes money for increased support for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, disability services, mental-health crisis intervention and home-based services.

Baldacci also said he was proposing alternative reductions of $13 million in human services and new initiatives of $5.3 million.

All of the governor’s announcements are proposals subject to approval by the Maine Legislature.

The proposed changes were announced as a result of $78.7 million in new revenue that was added to the two-year state budget.

The Revenue Forecasting Committee predicted March 1 that revenue over the two-year budget cycle would come in $50.9 million more than previous projections.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made an administrative change in the federal Medicaid program that increased reimbursement to Maine by $27.8 million.

The previously announced shortfall, in December 2009, was $438 million over the next 18 months. Now, the shortfall has been reduced to $359.3 million over the next 17 months.

“The slight improvement in the economy and the increased assistance from the federal government allow us to address legitimate concerns in human services and education while also making investments in Maine’s long-term financial health,” said Baldacci.

The governor previously cut $38 million from General Purpose Aid to Education in the current fiscal year that ends June 30, and $35 million from the next fiscal year that begins July 1.

In addition, according to the Maine School Management Association, the last session of the Legislature cut an additional $57 million in General Purpose Aid from the next fiscal year, so the total cut in school aid for next year is $92 million.

The School Management Association said the $20 million proposed to be restored March 3 would be put back to the total $92 million cut from school aid.

Baldacci also proposed:

• Restoring $8 million to higher education for fiscal 2011 ($6 million for the University of Maine System; $1.7 million for the Maine Community College System; and $267,000 for Maine Maritime Academy).

• Restoring $6 million for municipal revenue sharing for fiscal year 2010. The governor previously had cut $27 million in municipal revenue sharing statewide.

• Making a $3.5 million payment for state retirees’ health plans.

• Eliminating an $8.1 million payroll delay.

• Including $1.75 million to fully fund the state’s obligation for disaster assistance.

• Including $2.6 million to pay the debt service over two years for a $79 million job creation bond package. Baldacci said he would announce his investment proposal next week.

“Even with this tough economy, I will not support higher taxes,” Baldacci said. “Maine families and businesses cannot afford a higher burden. With these proposals, I believe we can give school districts and municipalities time to adjust to declining revenues, protect our core values and safeguard the state’s economy.”