The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is seeking public comment on a waiver request related to the federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. Through this eligibility waiver request, the Maine DOE intends to further support Maine schools during a period of exceptional challenges due to COVID-19.
Pursuant to Sections 8401 (b) and 8401(d)(2) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and Section 421(b) of the General Provisions Act, the Maine DOE is seeking approval from the U.S. Department of Education to:
- Waive the eligibility requirements for SIG funds; and
- Extend the period of availability of SIG funds until September 30, 2022.
If granted, this eligibility waiver request would give the Maine DOE authority to support a greater number of schools with their continuous school improvement efforts through the end of summer. To have the largest possible impact, the Maine DOE plans to utilize the remaining $812,951.51 in SIG funds to provide a Summer Leadership Academy designed to help educators address the academic and non-academic needs of students impacted by COVID-19. School Administrative Units (SAUs) may, however, seek individual school-level allocations instead. SAUs must contact the Maine DOE by March 11, 2022 if they do not agree with these remaining SIG funds being used on their behalf to implement a Summer Leadership Academy. Preliminary school-level funding amounts have been posted to the Maine DOE website.
Please note that any eligible SAU electing to receive individual school allocation(s) must utilize funding specifically to administer independent programming at each school within the SAU. In addition, Section 1003(a) of ESSA requires that each school that receive funds directly must:
- Submit an online funding application to the Department, outlining how the school anticipates utilizing the allocated SIG funds to support continuous improvement efforts;
- Obligate all allocated SIG funds on or before September 30, 2022; and
- Liquidate (invoice) all allocated SIG funds on or before September 30, 2022.
As part of the statutory requirements for seeking this eligibility waiver, the Maine DOE must solicit and respond to public comment on its waiver request as well as provide evidence of the available comment period. This 15-day public comment period shall begin on February 25, 2022 and conclude on March 11, 2022. A copy of the full waiver is available here.
Questions related to this announcement as well as public comments on the waiver request may be sent to Travis Doughty at email@example.com.