TO:                  Superintendents of Schools
FROM:             Angela Faherty, Ph.D., Commissioner of Education
DATE:             September 23, 2010


Each year we require school administrative units to complete the EF-I-291 (Public School Annual School Approval Report).  The information contained on the form meets two significant goals:  (1) to provide the Department with documentation of each school’s compliance with the statutes and regulations and any assurances that may be related to state and federally funded programs; (2) to provide administrators with a more complete list of the requirements to use as a self-assessment.  Full school approval will not be granted until all the requirements have been met.  Please note that schools that are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) must also complete this State school approval process.  Department of Education Rule Chapter 125: Basic Approval Standards: Public Schools and School Administrative Units is explicit about the need to comply with this request.

School administrative units (SAUs) are required to submit and digitally sign the EF-I-291 by the deadline of 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 8, 2010.  Those failing to do so are subject to Provisional Approval in accordance with section 14.03 of Chapter 125.  A list of provisionally approved public schools will be listed on the Department website and distributed to Department of Education staff who have responsibility for General Purpose Aid (GPA), MaineCare, IDEA, NCLB, ARRA, School Nutrition and other state and Federal programs that require basic school approval assurances.

Process / Procedures:

Complete the EF-I-291 (Public School Annual School Approval Report) for 2010-2011 located inside the MEDMS application.  It will appear in the Application drop-down menu under “Forms” and the Action drop–down menu under “School Approval.”  Please direct the person with permission to view the system to respond to each of the indicators, choosing complete, incomplete or not applicable.  If the response is “incomplete” to any of the questions,this does not excuse the school from that requirement as part of school approval.  It means that the school understands that the requirement must be met and is working to meet the statute and regulations in the best interests of students.  For items marked “incomplete”, please contact Greg Scott, at or 207-624-6614 to provide a concise explanation of how and when you will meet that requirement.

  • Commissioner’s Administrative Letter # 17 (dated September 12, 2008) indicated that an assurance / certification would replace submission of hard copies of documentation to the Department of Education.  The section on the Annual School Approval Report that incorporates this assurance / certification certifies that these documents:
    • meet all statutory and regulatory requirements,
    • are current, and
    • are on file at the school administrative unit central office and available for inspection during regular office hours.
  • This certification will appear as a drop-down option when the Superintendent (or users with digital signature access) logs in to MEDMS.
  • If you don’t have the proper access or a user account, please contact your Local District Administrator.
  • To complete the signature, select Digital Signature from the Application Menu and click “GO” and then select School Approval from the Action Menu and click “GO”.  This signature page will be available beginning September 27, 2010.
  • The Superintendent’s digital signature is required for the EF-I-291 to be complete and for school approval to be awarded.
  • The electronic form must be submitted on-line via the MEDMS system no later than November 8, 2010.  The MEDMS portal for the EF-I-291 will be closed at 5:00 p.m. on that date.

Please note that Department of Education will not be printing or mailing school approval certificates.  Instead, you will receive an email message with the approved schools’ certificates attached as PDF files.  You can print them out and store them electronically for future use.

For Assistance:

  • Contact the MEDMS Helpdesk at 207-624-6896 immediately if you have any questions about submitting the EF-I-291 or if you experience difficulty submitting the EF-I-291.
  • Contact Greg Scott, by e-mail at or phone 207-624-6614 if you have any questions about the school approval process.

To access the full text of Chapters cited (please click on the Rule #):

Ch. 33 Use of Timeout Rooms, Therapeutic Restraints and Aversives in Public Schools and   Approved Private Schools

Ch. 51 Child Nutrition Programs in Public Schools and Institutions

Ch. 81 Uniform School Bus Standards for Pupil Transportation in Maine

Ch. 104 Education Programs for Gifted and Talented Children

Ch. 115 Certification, Authorization and Approval of Educational Personnel

Ch. 125 Basic Approval Standards: Public Schools and School Administrative Units

Ch. 126 Immunization Requirements for Children

Ch. 127 Instructional Program, Assessment, and Diploma Requirements

Ch. 161 Purchase and Storage of Hazardous Chemicals

Ch. 408 20-A, Chapter 11, Part 2, Subchapter 1, Section 1001, Subsection 16, Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan

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