Maine DOE Newsroom

Maine DOE Awards Grant Funds to 7 Regional Education Opportunity and Efficiency Initiatives

April 4, 2017

For Immediate Release
Contact: Rachel Paling (207) 624-6747 rachel.paling@maine.gov

Augusta – The Maine Department of Education today announced 7 grant awards for collaborative initiatives undertaken by schools and educational agencies as part of a statewide regional opportunity and efficiency initiative called EMBRACE.

The EMBRACE initiative, “Enabling Maine students to Benefit from Regional And Coordinated approaches to Education,” is part of a growing focus on improving education services while saving local costs by encouraging regional partnering.

The chance to apply for the Educational Efficiencies and Opportunities Grant was offered by the Maine DOE earlier this year. The application was released in response to Executive Order 2017-001 issued by Governor LePage. promoting Regional Efforts to Achieve Efficiencies in Delivering Educational Services.

To apply, school districts and neighboring educational units proposed plans that would help save cost by working together on initiatives that could create new opportunities for students while reducing cost, including transportation facilities, professional development and special education services. The grant proposal resulted in 21 applications with an array of cost saving plans to benefit Maine students.

While only one third of the applications will be funded at this time, if the Department determines that additional funding is available, more awards may be granted. The final award amount for each grant will be negotiated between the grant recipient and the Department of Education, which may result in the availability of more funds for additional grants.

In addition, Governor LePage has requested $5 million per year in the biennial budget proposal, which would enable additional rounds of applications for grants in future years.

Today’s awards involve nearly 50 sites throughout Maine, including neighboring school districts, Career and Technical Education (CTE) centers, colleges and universities. Below is a listing of the regional efficiency projects that will receive funding (although grant amounts are yet to be finalized):

Regional Efficiency Projects

Western Maine Regional Program for Children with Exceptionalities

The participants will share a space and resources to provide services to students in grades 6-12 with autism and/or emotional disabilities and other behaviorally challenged students who would otherwise be placed in special service private schools outside the participating districts. The plan will allow students to stay closer to home while also providing necessary technical and experiential learning opportunities.

Proposed cost (not necessarily size of award): $314,500
Estimated 5-year savings:
$2,050,000

Participants:

Rightsizing Education in the Upper St. John Valley

This plan aims to improve the quality and efficiency of three St. John Valley School Districts by regionalizing grades 9-12 into a regional combined high school/CTE center, while at the same time retain each community’s individual identity by maintaining Early Childhood to grade 8 within the sending communities. The plan will align curriculum, assessment, professional development, policies and resources across the three SAU’s, it will also introduce CTE learning styles to 8th graders, provide Chemical Health Education to students and enhance visual and performing arts programs.

Proposed cost (not necessarily size of award): $508,200
Estimated 5-year savings:
$901,509

Participants:

Service Bundling

The project will bundle special education, psychological services, transportation, technology and facilities services that are currently being operated independently.

Proposed Cost(not necessarily size of award): $162,500
Estimated 5-year savings:
$537,500

Participants:

Southern Aroostook Area Regional Transportation Facility

The plan will provide participating communities with a centrally located facility to serve as a bus garage for maintenance of the combined fleet of buses, vans and service vehicles of the participating partners. The project will save money, increase reliability and improve maintenance services which will is expected to lengthen the life of buses and other service vehicles.

Proposed Cost(not necessarily size of award): $415,000
Estimated 5-year savings:
$929,917.45

Participants:

SPRPCE Innovative School

The project will create a regional, alternative education school beginning with 7th and 8th graders, with plans to expand to grade 10. The school is designed for hands-on, experiential learning to motivate and prepare at-risk youth for successful integration into further learning opportunities at local CTE centers and in early college programs. The funds will support the creation of the school for its first year.

Proposed Cost(not necessarily size of award): $538,235
Estimated 5-year savings:
$3,308,825

Participants:

Sheepscot Regional Education Program

The project will provide a single site for special education services for students in grades 6-12, through age 20, who need behavioral support. The day-treatment option will be a research based intervention option for students to participate in prior to potential further out of district placement. The partnership will provide cost savings on infrastructure, staff, and administrative and financial oversight.

Proposed Cost(not necessarily size of award): $518,000
Estimated 5-year savings:
$8,086,664

Participants:

Western Maine Mathematics 9-12/CTE Leadership Network

The project is designed to support the development of a high school mathematics coaching model to better meet the needs of 9-12 mathematics teachers and CTE teachers in western Maine. The project will use the proven success of the Maine Mathematics Coaching Project (MMCP) to provide high quality mathematics professional development with will increase interest, engagement, and self-efficiency in mathematics for high school students and teachers.

Proposed Cost(not necessarily size of award): $231,082
Estimated 5-year savings:
$403,798

Participants:

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