School buses are an iconic symbol that represents access to education in the United States. Right now, as they are, school buses are by far the safest way for students to travel to and from school.
The Maine Walking School Bus Program continues to provide support to local schools on many fronts aimed to help Maine school children stay safe, keep physically active, increase learning, and promote good behavior.
Students and schools across the nation are recognizing 2015 National School Bus Safety Week Oct. 19-23. The theme for this year’s safety week is “Be Smart – Be Seen, I wait in a safe place!” In Maine, the safety week program culminates with a poster contest award ceremony and tea at the Blaine House for students and their families.
School Bus Driver Appreciation Day in Maine acknowledges the importance of school bus drivers to a student’s education and will be held Monday, Oct. 26, as proclaimed by Governor Paul R. LePage.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s National Clean Diesel Campaign (NCDC) is now accepting applications for the 2015 School Bus Replacement and Retrofit Funding opportunity. This is a rebate program to replace and retrofit older school buses in both the public and private fleets. The total funding for this opportunity is approximately $7 million which is up from the $3 million in awards last year, the second year of the campaign. Applications are being accepted now through Oct. 30.
In Maine, about 80 percent of students ride the school bus, and this ridership is high compared to 50 percent national student ridership. During the school year in Maine, about 140,000 children are transported on 3,000 school buses by 2,200 school bus drivers over 30 million miles of urban and rural roads. To add to this, Maine traditionally has one of the best safety records in the nation.
Over 400 school transportation staff throughout Maine attended the 44th Annual School Transportation Safety Conference at Sugarloaf this summer. Each year school transportation teams come together to learn from national experts, State agencies and each other. Throughout the conference transportation directors, bus drivers, bus mechanics, transportation software specialist, and business managers echoed “this was the best conference ever.”
The following Priority Notice was sent to transportation directors on Thursday, July 30.
Dear Transportation Directors and Business Managers,
The following data reports have upcoming deadlines and/or extensions.
For policy questions regarding EF-T-21 and EF-T-24, contact Transportation and Facilities Administrator Pat Hinckley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For policy questions related to the EF-M-43, contact School Finance Coordinator Paula Gravelle at email@example.com.
For assistance with access to the NEO data system, contact the Maine DOE MEDMS Helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your attention to these dates.
Pat Hinckley, Transportation and Facilities Administrator
Maine Department of Education
School transportation directors, supervisors, mechanics, bus drivers, and computer technicians from all over Maine will be traveling to Sugarloaf Mountain for the annual intensive training on school transportation.
In case you missed the 104th Annual Commissioner’s Conference, here is a recap with valuable links.
Acting Commissioner of Education, Thomas Desjardin opened and closed the conference at Sunday River with timely updates on the ongoing FY16 budget discussions and voting at the State House at the time. He also acknowledged the ever changing educational climate and the hard work and successes of school leaders and Maine DOE’s support through its multi-faceted services.
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