Informational Risk Summary: Education Facilities Subsector

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Department of Homeland Security have published a Cyber Risk Summary: Education Facilities Subsector

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) vulnerability management Cyber Hygiene Vulnerability Scanning performed between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020—identified the following vulnerabilities on Education entity IT assets. Note: This fact sheet uses data collected from Education Facilities Subsector entities as defined in the Government Facilities Sector Specific Plan. The Education Facilities Subsector consists of private and government-owned K-12 and higher education institutions.

View the full summary here

Questions can be sent to CISA at CSD_VM_Insights_Intake@cisa.dhs.gov. If you have feedback specific to your experience with this product, please send CISA your input by filling out the CISA Product Survey

Annual Audit Requirements- an Early Reminder

We know that superintendents are busy during this season of hiring and preparation for the new school year. We wanted to get audit dates to School Administrative Unit (SAU) leaders and key personnel as an early reminder, so that you can mark your calendars and take any initial steps needed.

Initial Report to the Commissioner Due November 1st
As is required by Title 20-A MRSA 6051 §4, statements of assurance and Maine Education Financial System reconciliations are due to the Department by November 1, 2021. Please submit via email to DOE.audit@maine.gov .

  • Any adjustments identified by these reconciliations should be uploaded to the Maine Education Financial System in NEO by November 30, 2021.

Annual Audit Reports Due December 30th
Annual audit reports are due within six months after the end of the audit period (e.g., reports for the fiscal year ending June 30th are due on or before December 30th).

  • Per statute, the auditor is required to review the audit with the school board.
  • Per statute, it is the school board’s responsibility to submit the annual audit document unless it is stated in the engagement letter that the audit firm will submit the audit to the Department on behalf of the school board.
  • Municipal school units are required to submit either a combined annual audit or a school department audit and a municipal audit to the Department. The municipal annual report (a.k.a. town report) cannot be accepted in lieu of the complete municipal annual audit.
  • Per statute, Maine DOE must receive a Schedule of Expenditure of Federal Awards(SEFA), which includes federal award expenditures for all reporting entities, even if a Single Audit (formerly A-133 audit) is not required to be conducted. The SEFA provides information needed by Maine DOE to conduct sub-recipient monitoring as required by the US Department of Education and is due at the time of the annual audit.
  • In municipal school units where a combined audit is not conducted, Maine DOE should receive two audits: an audit with a SEFA for the school department, and an audit for the city/town including a SEFA.
  • If a management letter is prepared by the auditor, a copy must be submitted to Maine DOE with the annual audit, as this letter provides us with information needed to conduct sub-recipient monitoring, as required by US DOE.

Extensions and Subsidy Payments
If an extension or exception is needed for the deadline to submit either the municipal or school department audit, the superintendent must contact us to request the extension.

The forms are available on the Fiscal Review and Compliance webpage, under forms on the menu bar.

  • Initial extension requests will be for a period of 3 months, and 30 days  thereafter.
  • Extension requests will be considered until June 30th (six months after due date); extensions will not be valid after June 30th and all municipalities and school administrative units with overdue audits which have not submitted an extension request before May 31th may have a delay in subsidy release. Those who have not submitted an extension request will have subsidy withheld until addressed.

Please submit all annual audit documents, reports, information requests, questions and other audit correspondence via email to DOE.Audit@Maine.gov.

WEBINAR: New Technology Funding Available Through Federal Emergency Connectivity Fund

Colleagues from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will share information regarding the Emergency Connectivity Fund in an upcoming webinar on July 22 at 2:30pm.  The event will go over information about how your district, school, or library can apply for technology reimbursement, answer common questions they are receiving from district leaders, and will have experts on hand to answer questions from participants. Participants are encouraged to submit their questions in advance when registering for the webinar.

Webinar Info:

July 22, 2021, 2:30pm EDT
Register here

The pandemic has brought equity-related issues such as home connectivity to the forefront, and the need for remote learning forced district leaders to invest more funds for technology than ever before. Fortunately, additional help is on the way.

Are you applying to get your fair share of the federal funds being provided to offset the costs of remote learning? Purchases between July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022 for student or teacher home use are eligible for this reimbursement, including:

  • Up to $400 per laptop or tablet
  • Up to $250 per Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Monthly service is not capped but is expected to be in the range of $10-$25 per month

Learn more about the Emergency Connectivity Fund and how your district, school, or library can apply. The application deadline is August 13, 2021.

Webinar Guests

  • Allison BakerPolicy Advisor, Wireline Competition Bureau, Federal Communications Commission
  • Travis LitmanActing Chief of Staff, Federal Communications Commission
  • Thomas C. MurrayDirector of Innovation, Future Ready Schools (moderator)
  • Ramesh NagarajanActing Wireline Advisor, Office of Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, Federal Communications Commission

Register here. For questions about the webinar, contact Lia Dossin.

WEBINAR: Strategies for Safely Returning to School: The Latest Federal Guidance

The U.S. Department of Education is hosting a webinar series to support educational settings in safely sustaining or returning to in-person instruction. The series features the latest federal guidance, and lessons learned and best practices from faculty, staff, schools, districts, institutions of higher education, early childhood education providers, and other places of educational instruction describing approaches to operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On behalf of the U.S. Department of Education (ED), Office of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Safe and Supportive Schools, the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE) invites you to join the next webinar, Strategies for Safely Returning to School: The Latest Federal Guidance.

Date: Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Time: 3:00 – 4:00 pm EST

Please join us for this informative webinar featuring updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ED on preparing to return to school for the 2021-22 school year, including the latest on mitigation strategies, as we continue to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the federal agency updates, practitioner questions will be addressed by the CDC and ED staff to allow field personnel to better understand and ultimately operationalize guidance.

Speakers/Panelists

  • Christian Rhodes, Moderator, Chief of Staff, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education
  • Neha Cramer: Lead, Schools Unit, Community Intervention and Critical Populations Task Force at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Jessica McKinney: Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development (OPEPD), U.S. Department of Education Related Documents

This event will reference the following resources, which we encourage you to access in advance of the webinar to inform participation:

For your reference, slides for this presentation will be posted on the event webpage on the day of the event.

Registration – You must register to participate in this presentation. Register Here!

Please contact NCSSLE if you have any questions. We look forward to sharing this information with you and hearing from you about the important work you are doing in your schools, communities, and states to meet the needs of your students and staff as they return to in-person learning.

New Law Gives Incentives for Schools to Use Local Foods

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is pleased to announce several changes to the Local Food Fund (formerly named the Local Produce Fund) which will be implemented for the 2021-2022 school year.

LD 636, An Act To Encourage the Purchase of Local Foods for Public Schools was signed by Governor Mills on July 8, 2021. The fund matches $1 for every $3 that a school administrative unit (SAU) pays for locally grown or produced foods purchased directly from a Maine producer or producer’s cooperative.

“We’re thrilled to have the support of the Legislature to expand the offerings available via the Local Food Fund,” said Adriane Ackroyd, Maine DOE Child Nutrition Supervisor. “Throughout the past school year, we have facilitated culinary demonstrations to equip local child nutrition professionals with the knowledge needed to skillfully implement local produce into the nutritious meals being offered to our students statewide.” Beginning in August, participating SAUs will notice several important local food fund programmatic updates, including:

  1. Eligible products now include value-added dairy and protein which may include: eggs, beef, yogurt, and tofu.
  2. A maximum reimbursement of $5,000 per SAU or $5,500 if the SAU sends a child nutrition professional to one of the DOE’s local foods trainings.

The Department of Education’s Child Nutrition program offers virtual and in-person local foods trainings. Participation in these trainings allows SAUs to tap into additional funds within the Local Foods Fund. These trainings are designed to be interactive and give school nutrition staff the confidence and motivation to utilize local ingredients in their school menus. Many of the trainings use recipes from the Harvest of the Month program, a state-wide campaign that helps promote the use of seasonally available local produces in schools and early child-care centers.

To learn more, contact Maine DOE Farm and Sea to School Coordinator Robin Kerber at robin.kerber@maine.gov.