PRIORITY NOTICE: 2018/19 subsidy printouts (ED279s) available with detailed explanation of funding changes

The fiscal year 2018-2019 ED 279 subsidy printouts are now available: http://www.maine.gov/doe/eps/

The subsidy printouts are provided based on $1.1 billion in funding allocated to education in the 2018/19 Biennial Budget that was enacted by the Maine State Legislature. See the trend in education funding from 2011 – 2019.

As a reminder, a number of EPS funding formula changes were also enacted as part of the budget. Many of these changes were made to both increase funds to education and to target more funds toward classroom expenditures. Provided below is a detailed list of the changes along with other important factors that impact EPS funding formula calculations.

Funding changes enacted in the budget:

  • Essential Programs and Services (EPS) Operating Transition Percentage – What is recognized as essential programs and services has increased from 97% to 100% due to a repeal of the EPS transition percentage. This means that the formula now recognizes 100% total cost allocation as calculated by the formula for each district. The 3% increase has resulted in over $42 million increased funding for education.
  • Funds for Special Education – There were several changes enacted that resulted in more funding to special education students. These changes have resulted in an increase of $30 million in funding for special education:
    • The weight for special education students increased from 1.27 per student to 1.50 per student. This change provides more funding to districts with higher number of special education students.
    • The Special Education Adjustment made for minimum receivers has increased from 33% to 40%.
    • Incentives are provided to public schools that place special education students in regional special purpose schools closer to home versus placing students in private schools further away.
    • The Special Education Budgetary Hardship Fund is now available for districts to apply for additional special education funding when they receive high cost special education student/s during the current school year, rather than wait for the coming year to receive extra funding.
  • Career & Technical Education (CTE) – Allocation for Career and Technical Education (CTE) is now based on a program-driven cost model, which bases the calculation of state subsidy on the following components: direct instruction, central administration, supplies, operation and maintenance of plant, other student and staff support, and student enrollment. As part of this model, State subsidy payments will be made directly to Career and Technical Education Centers and Regions and replaces both state and local share for the costs included in the model. Going forward, assessments will only be necessary for costs outside/above the model, such as new equipment or costs not covered by the model. FY19 CTE Centers & Regions Summary Estimate Funding Levels.
  • Additional Public Preschool funding – An additional $10 million in funding has been specifically allocated toward new and expanded public preschool programs.
  • Town valuation – Each town’s valuation is provided by the Maine Revenue Service each year and is part of the calculation that determines the town’s ability to pay local share. Previously the amounts used were determined based on the average valuation of the previous 3 years for each town. This coming fiscal year they will be based on an average of the previous 2 years. This change has created an increased “ability to pay” for some towns resulting in a higher required local share.
  • Student-to-Teacher ratio for New Early Childhood programs –  The student to teacher ratio for programs for 4-year-old through kindergarten has changed from 17 – 1 to 15 – 1. This change has resulted in an $8 million increase in funding.
  • Funding for System Administration – Allocation for system administration has gone from a rate of $135 per pupil in FY18 to $92 per pupil in FY19. Districts pursuing a Regional Service Center as part of Chapter 123 were allotted an additional $46 per pupil, pending approval of round II applications.
  • Basic pupil count – The pupil count used in EPS calculations is based on an average of the previous two year’s October pupil counts (reported by each district). Previously, it was based on the average of the most recent October and April counts.
  • State share percentage has grown – The average State share percentage has grown to 53.02%. The previous year was 52.02%.

Other important factors that impact EPS calculations:

  • Mil Rate – The Mil Rate, which is used as part of the calculation that determines each towns ability to pay required local share is 8.51. Previously the Mil Rate was 8.19.
  • Student enrollment – A dramatic increase or decrease in student enrollment has a major impact on funding because the EPS funding formula’s major driver is student population.
  • Changes in debt service payments – Districts that have either paid off or begun to pay principal or interest payments for equipment (new school, new bus, etc.), that the State has allocated funds to pay those payments could see dramatic changes in calculations if either payments no longer need to be made or if payments have begun.

Further information about FY 19 EPS can be found on the Maine DOE website.

Districts that have questions regarding subsidy printouts can contact the School Finance Team: Tyler Backus at tyler.backus@maine.gov; Paula Gravelle at paula.b.gravelle@maine.gov; or Ida Batista at ida.batista@maine.gov.

Media that have questions about school funding should contact Director of Communications, Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov or (207)624-6747

PRIORITY NOTICE: Guidance for Changes to Career and Technical Education Funding

Beginning with fiscal year (FY) 2018/2019 state funding for education, the State allocation for Career and Technical Education (CTE) will be based on a program-driven cost model, which bases the calculation of state subsidy on the following components: direct instruction, central administration, supplies, operation and maintenance of plant, other student and staff support, and student enrollment.

State subsidy payments will be made directly to Career and Technical Education Centers and Regions. In this model, State subsidy will replace both state and local share for the costs included in the model, which should provide relief to assessment payments that sending schools would have previously received. Going forward, local assessments will only be necessary for costs outside/above the model, such as new equipment or costs not covered by the model.

When the FY 2018/2019 ED279 subsidy printouts are released, SAUs and school board members should consider these changes as they review their state allocation and move toward setting a 2018/2019 budget.

As a reminder, the ED279s are on track for release by the February 1 statutory deadline.

Further details about the new model can be found in the CTE Model Executive Summary. Further questions about funding can be directed to Tyler Backus at Tyler.Backus@maine.gov and questions about CTE operations can be directed to Paul Hambleton at Paul.Hambleton@maine.gov.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Preliminary Guidance for release of ED 279s

The FY 2018/2019 education subsidy printouts (ED279s) are projected to be distributed to SAUs by the February 1 statutory deadline. With the many changes that went into effect in the 2018/2019 biennial budget and because of the uncertainty and regular questioning that often arises prior to and during this process, the Department is releasing guidance so that SAUs, school boards and local taxpayers can review their own unique circumstances as a unit and the factors with the largest impact on 2018/2019 education funding subsidy levels.

The following is a list of key factors that are greatly impacting calculations for state allocation and required local share for FY 2018/2019 education funding:

  • Student enrollment – A dramatic increase or decrease in student enrollment. Whether it is because of a change in population or because of a withdrawal from or formation to a unit, the EPS funding formula’s major driver is student population.
  • Changes in debt service payments – SAUs that have either paid off or begun to pay principal or interest payments for equipment (new school, new bus, etc.), that the State has allocated funds to pay those payments could see dramatic changes in calculations if either payments no longer need to be made or if payments have begun.
  • Town valuation –Each town’s valuation is provided by the Maine Revenue Service each year and determines the town’s ability to pay local share. Previously the amounts used were determined based on the average valuation of the previous 3 years for each town. This coming FY they will be based on an average of the previous 2 years, per changes created in the biennial budget. As property values tend to increase year after year, this change has created an increased “ability to pay” for some towns resulting in a higher required local share.

Valuation change, Pupil change, and Per Pupil Valuation calculation and change for each SAU

A full list of detailed changes to the EPS funding formula will be provided with the ED279s.

For more information about the EPS formula and state funding for education visit the School Funding webpage on the Maine DOE webpage or contact Tyler Backus at tyler.backus@maine.gov.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Two important updates; reporting delay and urgent Title V eligibility verification

The following priority notice contains two important notices for districts.

1. Urgent Title V eligibility verification

To align the Title V (Rural Education Achievement Program -REAP) Grant timeline to other Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Federal Programs, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has revised data collection and submission dates with a more aggressive timeline. This revision will allow Title V (REAP) Federal funds to be awarded to states on July 1 of each program year.

Each individual school district must verify their data and contact Daniel Weeks (Daniel.R.Weeks@maine.gov), Title V Coordinator of any inaccurate data by December 6th.

Several districts have yet to provide complete Average Daily Attendance (ADA) data. These gaps directly affect funding for ALL Title V grants (Small Rural Schools Achievement (SRSA) and the Rural Low-Income Schools (RLIS)). Please review your data carefully.

We realize that the turnaround time is very limited, and for that we apologize. Initial communication from the USDOE was received on November 21, 2017, which provided Maine DOE minimal time to collect and compile the necessary information into a single tangible spreadsheet. This spreadsheet must now be reviewed by school districts for accuracy.  Each individual school district must verify their data and contact Daniel Weeks (Daniel.R.Weeks@maine.gov), Title V Coordinator of any inaccuracies by December 6th.

The data to be reviewed can be located here:  http://www.maine.gov/doe/rural/

Please verify the following data elements:

  • Column M (Average Daily Attendance)
  • Column Q (Alternate Poverty Data for districts with a population of less than 20,000)
  • Column S (FY17 Title II A Award)
  • Column T (FY17 Title IV A Award)

Please note:

Column M (ADA) directly affects funding for ALL Title V grants (SRSA and the RLIS).

Column Q (Alt. Poverty Data) directly affects eligibility and funding for the RLIS Grant.

Column S & T (Title IIA and IVA Awards) directly affect funding for the SRSA Grant.

For further questions or concerns please contact Daniel Weeks, Title V Coordinator at (207) 624-6749 or Daniel.R.Weeks@maine.gov.

2. Graduation and Dropout Reporting dates further delayed

On November 20th the Department issued a notice announcing that the due date for Graduation and Dropout Reporting was extended to December 21st. The Department has just learned that the data needed prior to launching the updated Graduation and Dropout reporting module in NEO is not yet available. The NEO module went through an update to fulfill federal reporting regulations and the Department is not willing to launch the updated module before running test scenarios to ensure product quality.

The Department hopes to learn early next week when the data will be available. The Department has notified the federal government of this delay and will issue a new reporting timeline when information is confirmed.

The Department is aware of the angst that this second delay may cause. We assure you our teams are doing everything in our power to get efficient and accurate data systems operative and available for district reporting.

For further questions contact the Maine DOE Helpdesk. Further updates will be forthcoming through the Maine DOE Newsroom.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Deadline for Part I Application for Regional Service Centers is November 30

As a reminder, the deadline for school administrative units to submit the Part I Application for a Regional Service Center (i.e. School Management and Leadership Centers) is November 30, 2017.

The short online Part I Application is conceptual in nature and does not take long to complete. Part I must be submitted online by the close of business on Nov. 30, 2017. Districts that take part in completing and submitting Part I as proposed members are not obligated to be part of a Regional Service Center but, if submitted by November 30, Part I of the application will allow the Department to budget for those members accordingly.

The Part II Application, which is due by April 15, 2018, includes specific information related to the structure and governance of the service center; the purposes, functions, programs and services to be provided by the service center; how any savings resulting from the formation of the service center will be used; and a copy of the proposed interlocal agreement.

Part I Online Application: https://mainedoe.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cMahjxe4SEnyp1j

For more information about Regional Service Centers and the Department’s other regionalization initiatives, visit the EMBRACE Regionalization Information Center or contact Jennifer Pooler at Jennifer.G.Pooler@maine.gov.

 

PRIORITY NOTICE: EPS Oct 1 Enrollment/Special Ed (EF-S-05) Reporting Certification due by November 22

The Maine Department of Education is asking all districts for verification and certification of the EPS Oct 1 Enrollment/Special Ed (EF-S-05) Report to be completed by Wednesday, November 22, 2017.

At this time, all issues within the Synergy student data information system, and in the NEO Student Reports module have been resolved. We acknowledge the implementation process has caused significant delays in reporting and much frustration. However, as many of you are aware, the timeline for calculating the EPS Subsidy using this data is limited by statute. The Department is asking districts to verify and certify their data within this time frame to help ensure the legislative deadline is reached.

Districts can access their report within NEO Student Reports, October EPS Student Count – and we ask that all your data is reviewed, verified, corrected and certified by end of day on Wednesday, November, 22, 2017.

We thank school districts and their staff for their patience as we have worked through the implementation of the Synergy student data information system. Should you have any further questions or concerns contact the Maine DOE Helpdesk at 624-6896 or at medms.helpdesk@maine.gov.

EPS Student Enrollment and Special Education Child Count data certification deadline extended to November 7

Due to the continued data access and quality issues integrating the student data from Synergy to the EPS reports in NEO, the Maine Department of Education is extending the certification deadline from October 31st to November 7th for Essential Programs And Services (EPS) Student Enrollment and Special Education Child Count (EF-S-05 Part 1).

Subsequently, the upload period has been extended from October 23rd to October 30th. Therefore, changes to data will continue to automatically refresh the EPS and Special Education Child Count reports in NEO up until October 30th, after that point in time, any changes will require a manual refresh.  Enrollment certification reports cannot be submitted until October 30th, and are now due by November 7th. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of today, Special Education Child Count EF-S-05 Part 1 student data is not syncing correctly to the summary table in the October EPS Student Count report in NEO.  We are working on that fix and hope to have that corrected very soon. 

If you have further questions or if you are not sure how to upload or enter your data, or if you need access to Synergy or NEO, please contact the helpdesk at medms.helpdesk@maine.gov or at 624-6896.