The Maine Department of Education, through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI), has been providing 7th and 8th grade students and teachers access to, and support for, educational technology since 2002. While the goal has remained constant – provide State support for access to technology-enhanced education experiences for all students – the program has changed in many ways, and will continue to grow and evolve in the future. The Department remains committed to this goal.
As many school administrative units (SAUs) are aware, the final contracts for the MLTI program are set to expire on June 30, 2020. Included in the Department’s biennium budget package, which is currently being considered by the Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, are funds to support a “bridge year” for the 2020-2021 school year.
The Department is actively working with current vendors to secure agreements for this “bridge year,” which will enable SAUs to maintain existing levels of technology support. The details of these agreements are still being developed, so the following information is very preliminary:
- SAUs in cohort 4 (lease begun in 2016) for 7th & 8th grade and staff devices will keep their current devices for SY 2020-2021. They will continue to receive the software, wireless networks, technical support, and professional development they have been receiving. After SY 2020-2021, these SAUs will have the option to buy out their devices at the 2015 rates, $28/ iPad and $48/ laptop.
- SAUs who are currently leasing additional devices (elementary or high school student and staff devices) from the Department will continue to lease those devices from the Department at a reduced cost of $73/ iPad; $118/ laptop. They will continue to receive the software, wireless networks, technical support, and professional development they have been receiving. After SY 2020-2021, these SAUs will have the option to buy out their devices at the 2015 rates, $28/ iPad and $48/ laptop.
- SAUs who are currently receiving MLTI grants from the Department that are set to expire in June of 2020 will be granted an additional year of the same grant award as the previous 4 years.
The Department would use the additional time afforded by the “bridge year” to meet with stakeholders throughout the state, collecting feedback on what has worked well in the past, as well as innovative ideas about the future of MLTI. Discussions would include topics such as portable computer devices, device management and deployment, software, wireless networking, technical support, and professional development, as well as financial models to support these efforts. The Department would also convene a workgroup to synthesize this information and help to create a plan for the State.
Below is the estimated timeline for MLTI through 2021.
- May 2019 – August 2020: The Department holds meetings with stakeholders regarding the future of MLTI (post SY 2020-2021) and convenes a workgroup to develop a State plan
- July 2020 – June 30, 2021: Bridge Year
- October 2020: The Department announces plan for MLTI post SY 2020-2021 (including the release of any necessary RFPs)
- July 2021: SAUs have the option to buy out devices; launch of the future MLTI
For more information about the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, contact Beth Lambert, firstname.lastname@example.org, 207-624-6642.