Category Archives: Facilities

Simple strategies for safer, more effective schools

Next week, I have the honor of speaking about school security at the Maine Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference. I am excited to share all the advancements we’ve made here in recent years to strengthen the safety and security of our schools, especially since the shootings at Sandy Hook.

Most notably, thanks to two security reports commissioned by the Legislature and our Department and produced by Safe Havens International and PDT Architects, Maine schools now better understand their vulnerabilities and opportunities to better ensure student and staff safety.

Knowing how important this work is can often make it daunting for districts and schools boards to figure out where to best begin. That’s why as a follow-up to those assessments and in partnership with Safe Havens International, we are pleased to provide a free school security guide entitled 20 Simple Strategies to Safer and More Effective Schools.

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School Facility Management System to go offline June 30

In an effort to reduce the burden of unfunded education mandates, the Legislature recently accepted the Department’s recommendation to repeal the requirement that the Maine DOE provide a facilities maintenance template and capital planning software to school units. Therefore, the School Facility Management System (SFMS) will no longer be available after June 30, the end date of the current contract with VFA, Inc., the software provider.
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Educators invited to emergency preparedness conference

The 6th Annual Maine Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference will be held April 22-23 at the Augusta Civic Center, and include a strong focus on school security. More than 40 workshops and demonstrations are scheduled during the free two-day event with statewide, national and international preparedness partners.

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School construction tax credit bond applications due

The Department will be accepting applications for the Federal Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB) Program through March 14. Continue reading

Free trainings on school integrated pest management

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is offering six free Comprehensive School Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Training workshops in early 2014.   Continue reading

School security strengthened since Sandy Hook

On Saturday, many of us paused to remember the courage of so many in the face of the evil of one on the anniversary of the senseless school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary.  Just one day before, a  17-year-old senior was critically injured by a classmate, who later shot himself, in a shooting at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado, just 10 miles away from Columbine, another tragic reminder of our need to always be prepared even for the most unthinkable.

Here in Maine, schools have always taken the safety and security of their students and staff seriously, but even more so since Newtown.  Continue reading

Superintendent feedback needed on school security

The Maine Legislature recently passed L.D. 905, a resolve directing the Maine DOE to examine school security and work with security experts.  As part of our efforts, we have developed a short survey and request that each superintendent offer feedback on this important topic by completing it at http://tinyurl.com/meschoolsecuritysurvey. Your response is requested no later than Friday, Dec. 13 so a nationally-recognized security consultant can analyze the results for a report to the Legislature. Continue reading

Flags to half-staff to honor President Kennedy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The President has ordered flags to half-staff in honor of President John F. Kennedy, who died 50 years ago today. In a proclamation signed Thursday afternoon, the President directs that flags be lowered to half-staff Nov.  22 for the entire day.

Commissioner applauds strong start of charter schools

Monitoring by the Maine Charter School Commission of the two charter schools that served students during the 2012-13 academic year show the state’s first charters are meeting their missions

AUGUSTA – The State’s Acting Education Commissioner is applauding the state’s first two public charters after their inaugural monitoring reports show the central Maine schools are engaging students and adapting quickly to meet emerging needs.

Cornville Regional Charter School in Cornville, which served approximately 60 grade K-6 students, and the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences (MeANS) in Hinckley, which served 52 students grades 9-12, opened in the fall of 2012 after Maine, under the leadership of Governor Paul R. LePage, became the 41st state to allow public charter schools.  Continue reading

Leased space approvals now posted

The Maine DOE has completed its review of fiscal year 2014 instructional leased space applications and posted the results online. School administrative units that submitted applications may learn the status of their applications by visiting the web page. Approvals are indicated in the yellow column labeled “Approved by Department of Education for FY ’14.”

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