Notice of Proposed Rule Change: Chapter 61, Major Capital Construction

Note: This administrative letter was changed on Oct. 31, 2011, to amend the deadline for filing comments on the proposed rule changes to Chapter 61. The filing deadline is now Nov. 28, 2011, at 5 p.m.

ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER: 62
POLICY CODE: FD

The Maine Department of Education is proposing amendments to Maine Department of Education Regulation Chapter 61, State Board of Education Rules for Major Capital School Construction Projects.

The proposed amended rule includes a number of additions to the Definitions section to clarify terms used in the rule.  The term “hold harmless” has been better defined in the rating system section.  The ratings have been changed slightly with fewer points for enrollment fluctuations and added points for the condition of the building. Also, the category “other” has been dropped from the rating matrix.

The Administrative Review (appeal process) section has been modified to provide only for review of errors.

In the current rule, the State Board of Education considers Design and Funding Approval when the building plans are 95 percent complete. The proposed amended rule requires that the plans must be 100 percent complete to be considered for Design and Funding Approval.

The proposed amended rule clarifies the role of the Facilities Team in the entire process and authorizes the Facilities Team to monitor the financial progress of a project on a monthly basis.  It also strengthens the Department’s role in the construction process by directing that a representative of the Department be involved in all requisition meetings and become active in other aspects of the construction project.  The proposed amended rule provides that the Facilities Team will determine the completion date of a Major Capital School Construction project. The proposed amended rule also better defines change orders that are owner initiated.

The Financial section of the rule has been reorganized in order to better present this section of the rule to the reader.  It better defines how long financial records are to be readily available and defines the involvement of Department of Education auditors in the process.

The proposed amended rule clarifies how interest earned on invested funds and interest paid on temporary borrowing is to be administered.  It also changes the length of time for which school bonds are issued.  Bonds will no longer be issued for 5 or 10 years; under this proposal, bonds would be issued for 15 years if under $2.5 million and all others would be issued for 20 years with the provision that principal payments not exceed 20 years.

The current rule and the proposed amended rule are available online at http://www.maine.gov/education/rulechanges.htm.

Hard copies may be obtained by contacting Karen Bossie at the Maine Department of Education at 207-624-6848 or by email at Karen.L.Bossie@maine.gov.

A public hearing will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Room 541, 5th Floor of the Cross State Office Building, 111 Sewall Street, Augusta, Maine.

Written comments may be submitted as follows:

WRITTEN COMMENT DEADLINE:  5:00 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28, 2011

Mail:

Scott Brown, Director of School Facilities
Department of Education
23 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0023

Hand Deliver:

Scott Brown, Director of School Facilities
Department of Education
Burton M. Cross State Office Building, 5th Floor
111 Sewall Street
Augusta, Maine 04333-0023

The Department of Education encourages public participation in this rulemaking process.