Department will develop application for integrated regional school construction.
On January 3, Acting Commissioner Robert Hasson announced that the Maine Department of Education has identified $3 million in funds that will be made available through a competitive application process for school districts pursing regionalization and efficiency efforts. An application for School Administrative Units (SAUs) is available on the DOE website at http://www.maine.gov/doe/.
“There is a clear appetite across Maine to discover new, efficient ways to increase educational opportunities for students in Maine. The Department encourages every district considering innovative approaches to achieve efficiencies and deliver educational services in new or collaborative ways to apply for these funds. We hope to see ambitious proposals that serve Maine students and free up resources that can enhance educational opportunities,” said Acting Commissioner Hasson. “The Department has been urged by many stakeholders to provide support and incentives for voluntary efforts to regionalize and pursue cost efficiencies. We have heard those calls and are thrilled to take this step to support local efforts.”
“We carefully manage General Purpose Aid for Local Schools (GPA) to ensure that all available funds are available for our schools,” said Acting Deputy Commissioner Suzan Beaudoin. “When we passed the budget last year, we estimated the amount of funds that would be needed for adjustments to state subsidy. Based on the timing of bond issuance and the way that events unfolded, we believe that there are $3 million in funds that would not be dispersed. This grant will allow us to distribute those funds to school districts as adjustments to promote regionalization and efficiency, as allowed under GPA.” According to Acting Deputy Commissioner Beaudoin, undispersed funds resulted from sources such as delayed bond issuance for school construction and money set aside for districts that did not qualify for sudden and severe adjustments.
Acting Commissioner Hasson also announced that the Department is developing an application for regional schools construction projects. The process will support multiple districts working together to program and provide space for students. More details will be made available when the application is finalized and released.