Notice of education-related laws in effect March, April

The following educationrelated laws enacted in March and April of this year pertain to school budgets, special education regulations, medication administration, charter schools and more.

LD 1475, Public Law 2015, Chapter 463 is an Act To Facilitate the Use of State Education Subsidies. The summary of the bill is as follows:

  • Authorizes a regional school unit (RSU) to include an article in the warrant for its annual budget meeting providing that, in the event that the RSU receives more State education subsidy than the amount included in its budget, the RSU Board is authorized to increase expenditures for school purposes in cost center categories approved by the RSU board, without a special budget meeting and budget validation referendum.
  • Allows a RSU to include such articles for the purposes of increasing allocation of finances in a reserve fund and decreasing the local cost share expectation for local property taxpayers for funding public education.

For more information, contact Director of School Finance and Operation Joanne Allen at joanne.allen@maine.gov.

LD 1556, Resolve 2015, Chapter 65 is a Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 40: Rule for Medication Administration in Maine Schools, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Education. This rulemaking reflected the inclusion of epinephrine auto injectors to address anaphylaxis. These rules went into effect May 11, 2016.  For more information, contact Federal Liaison Jaci Holmes at jaci.holmes@maine.gov.

LD 1576, Public Law 2015, Chapter 448 is an Act To Amend Certain Education Laws. The summary of this bill is as follows:

  • Directs the Commissioner of Education to designate a receiving school administrative unit (SAU) to enroll a student who resides in a SAU that neither maintains a school nor contracts with another SAU.
  • Authorizes the superintendent of the residing SAU or the superintendent of the receiving SAU, if dissatisfied with the Commissioner’s decision, within ten calendar days of the Commissioner’s decision, may request that the State Board of Education review the transfer.
  • The State Board may approve or disapprove the Commissioner’s designation within 45 calendar days of receiving request and provide written decision and the State Board decision is final.
  • If a student under this section is receiving special education services, the state subsidy of special education costs for the transferred student may not be reduced as a result of the transfer.
  • Requires a resident SAU to pay to the receiving SAU tuition, special education tuition, other costs directly related to student’s special education and costs associated with due process proceedings for providing a free, appropriate public education.
  • Provides that, when the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) places a state ward in an out-of-state residential treatment center, the Department of Education Commissioner may designate the Maine DOE as having responsibility for oversight of the child’s individualized education program to ensure that child receives a free, appropriate public education.
  • Requires a public charter school authorized by a local school board or by a collaborative among local school boards to give enrollment preference to residents of the SAU school board or school boards that authorized the public charter school.
  • Changes the due date of the annual report to the Commissioner of Education by public charter school authorizers from 60 to 90 days after the end of the school fiscal year and adds language to address the disposition of graduation records and records of other students not transitioning to another Maine public school if a charter school closes.
  • Provides that charter schools are subject to educator effectiveness requirements.
  • Provides that compulsory attendance laws apply to virtual charter schools.
  • For a charter school in a school administrative unit with an enrollment of 500 or fewer students, provides that if five percent of the school administrative unit’s noncharter public school students per grade level is less than one, the charter school may enroll one student from that SAU per grade level in each of the charter school’s first three years of operation.

For information regarding charter schools, contact Executive Director of the Maine Charter School Commission Bob Kautz at bob.kautz@maine.gov.

For information regarding special education tuition, contact Director of Special Services Jan Brenton at janice.breton@maine.gov.

For more information regarding other portions of this law, contact Director of Policies and Programs Debra Plowman at debra.plowman@maine.gov.