Department releases application for innovative, regional school construction pilot

Department releases application for innovative, regional school construction pilot

AUGUSTA – Acting Commissioner Robert G. Hasson today announced that the Maine Department of Education, in concert with the State Board of Education, has released an application for innovative, regional school construction and is encouraging school districts to work together to apply for the 2017-2018 rating cycle. The “Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 School Construction 2017-2018 Rating Cycle Application” is now available on the Department website.

The Department hopes to identify a pilot project that results in the construction of a new, regional high school that integrates career and technical education (CTE), collaboration with Maine’s higher education institutions, and expands programming and services to students throughout the region.

“This is an exciting step forward to create new opportunities for Maine students,” said Dr. Hasson. “We hope that communities around the state have heard the clarion call that the Department of Education will stand behind voluntary efforts to collaborate and deliver education in new, innovative ways.”

The application for school administrative units and their partner organizations consists of two parts. Part 1, in which school administrative units must identify partner organizations and their envisioned partnership, will be due to the Department on May 1, 2017.

“The application process is intended to be straightforward and to follow existing statute and rules,” said Scott Brown, Director of School Construction Programs. “This new pathway for regional collaboration provides new opportunities for collaboration while following best practices from the State’s traditional construction programs.”

Following the scoring of Part 1, the Department will determine whether there are applicants that qualify to move forward to Part 2. The Part 2 application is due 6 months after receipt of formal written authorization to proceed from Part 1.

“We have designed a process and a timeline that is equally aggressive and measured,” said Dr. Hasson.  “Based on the number of grassroots efforts around the state looking for support for a project of this kind, we are hopeful that there will be several strong proposals resulting in a pilot project that leads the way for future efforts.”

The Department will hold public information sessions around the state where members of the public and interested parties (including superintendents, school leaders and school board members) may ask questions. Those questions and answers will be posted on the Department’s website in an effort to provide all schools with the same information.

The information sessions will take place in the evening, as follows:

  • #1: Wednesday, February 1 at the University of Maine at Presque Isle
    • Location: Campus Center, 181 Main Street, Presque Isle, ME
    • Time: 6pm – 8pm
  • # 2: Monday, February 6 at the University of New England in Biddeford
    • Location: Harold Alfond Forum,  11 Hills Beach Road, Biddeford, ME
    • Time: 6pm – 8pm
  • #3: Monday, February 27 Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor
    • Location: Rangeley Hall,  Room 107,  354 Hogan Road, Bangor, ME
    • Time: 6pm – 8pm
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Additional guidance is provided, below:
2017 Application Cycle to Identify an
Integrated, Consolidated 9 – 16 Educational Facility Pilot Project
Under the provisions of 20-A MRS §15905 and Chapter 61 State Board of Education Rules for Major Capital School Construction Projects Section 15 the Commissioner and the State Board have initiated an application process which will identify an Integrated, Consolidated 9 – 16 Educational Facility pilot project.  The intent of Section 15 is to create a new regional high school integrated with a career and technical school, the University of Maine System, and the Maine Community College System and that supports industry training programs leading to recognized licensure and certification.  The preferred pilot project will combine three or more high schools (additional grades would be considered) and will create a new governing school board.  Schools units are encouraged to work with neighboring school districts on this new process.The Integrated Consolidated 9 – 16 Educational Facility application consists of two parts.  Part 1 includes an initial letter of intent, responses to four prompts, and evidence of interest from potential partners.  Upon receipt, review, and rating of all Part 1 applications the Commissioner will establish a points threshold to determine those applicants approved to proceed to Part 2.  Only those applicants who receive formal written authorization will proceed to Part 2.  The Department may provide support to assist in completion of Part 2 of the application.

The Part 2 application requires an overview of the proposed model, responses to a number of prompts, an overview of the technical and financial supports needed from the Department in order to fully develop and implement the model, and evidence of approval votes by the various partners.  Upon receipt, review and rating of all Part 2 applications, Part 1 scores will be combined with Part 2 scores for a final total.  Using the final total scores, the Facilities Team will develop a priority list for the Commissioner to recommend to the State Board of Education.  The Department reserves the right to recommend more than one final project or to reject all applications.

Once the successful pilot project is identified and selected the Department of Education intends to provide funds for required planning work associated with the development of the project (facilitation, legal, start up, referendum, etc.). Decisions about renovation, expansion or building a new facility will be made during this planning phase.

The Part 1 application is due on May 1, 2017 and the Part 2 application is due 6 months after receipt of formal written authorization to proceed from Part 1.  Both applications can be downloaded from http://www.maine.gov/doe/facilities/construction/Part 1 and 2 9 – 16 Application 1.19.17.docx.

Information about this project can be found at http://www.maine.gov/doe/facilities/construction/index.html.   Integrated, consolidated school construction regional meetings regarding this application have been set up and times and locations can be found online.  All questions should be asked at one of the upcoming regional meetings. Those questions and answers will be posted online in an effort to provide all schools with the same information.

School Administrative Units seeking funding for major school construction, renovation, and consolidation projects within their school unit should use the Major Capital School Construction Program to address those needs. That application is available at http://www.maine.gov/doe/facilities/documents/application2017-18.docx.  Those applications are due on April 14, 2017.

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