National Board Certified Teacher Salary Supplement Request Due November 6, 2020

Do you have National Board Certified Teachers on your staff? Awesome! We are sending along a reminder to those fortunate superintendents, or directors of a publicly-supported secondary school or CTE region, with eligible staff who have attained National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification prior to July 1, 2020. Please let us know so we can provide you with their legislatively allocated salary supplement.

In order to qualify for the salary supplement, eligible staff must be currently employed by a Maine public school, or by a publicly-supported secondary school or CTE region in Maine. Eligible position titles include classroom teacher, special education teacher, literacy specialist, long-term substitute teacher, library media specialist, guidance counselor, and teacher leaders with certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, or its successor organization.

Salary Supplement amount: Despite enacting language regarding a $5,000 supplement for those teaching in a school with a Free and Reduced Lunch Rate (FRLR) 50% and higher, no additional funds were appropriated to provide full funding for that, or full funding of the $3,000 for those under the 50% FRLR; therefore, both supplements will need to be prorated. Estimated* prorated amounts:

Teaching in a school with a Free and Reduced Lunch rate 50% and higher:  $3,350

Teaching in a school with a Free and Reduced Lunch rate below 50%: $2,022

*Please note these are estimated amounts. Final salary supplement totals will depend on the number of qualifying teachers in each category. We expect to have that information published on our web site the week of Dec. 7. The submission form and further information is available on our National Board Certification Salary Supplement web page: https://www.maine.gov/doe/educators/cert/nationalstandards/salary

National Board Scholarship Information:

Information will be available on November 10 on our National Board Certification Scholarship web page: https://www.maine.gov/doe/cert/nationalstandards/scholarship

Thank you for your patience regarding the delay in releasing information. Due to the pandemic, we are navigating a very different school year.

If you have questions, please contact Tamara Ranger at Tamara.Ranger@maine.gov.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Verification of Minimum Teacher Salaries

Due Date: November 30, 2020 

In 2020-21, the State will provide each qualifying school administrative unit with the funding necessary to achieve the minimum salary for certified teachers established in Title 20-A, §13407. 

A “qualifying school administrative unit” means a school administrative unit the commissioner determines to have a locally established salary schedule with a minimum teacher salary of less than $35,000 in school year 2019-20.  The requirement to pay the $35,000 minimum is not contingent upon receipt of the State’s adjustment to subsidy.   

The minimum salary law does not distinguish between full-time and part-time teachers.  Full-time teachers must be paid a minimum salary of $35,000.  The minimum amount will be prorated for part-time teachers in proportion to their fulltime equivalency (FTE). 

Method of Allocation of State Funds to Qualifying School Administrative Units: 

The commissioner shall allocate funds provided to qualifying school administrative units per Title 20-A, §15689, sub-§7-A,(B), in accordance with the following: 

  1. The amount of increased funds provided to qualifying school administrative units under this subsection must be the amount necessary to fund the incremental salary increases specified in this subsection.   
  2. The number of teachers eligible for incremental salary increases in a qualifying school administrative unit for a fiscal year must be based on the information supplied to the department pursuant to section 13407 in that fiscal year.   
  3. The increased funds provided under this subsection must be issued to qualifying school administrative units as an adjustment to the state school subsidy for distribution to the teachers. Qualifying school administrative units shall use the payments provided under this subsection to provide salary adjustments to those teachers eligible for incremental salary increases. The department shall collect the necessary data to allow the funds to be included in a qualifying school administrative unit’s monthly subsidy payments beginning no later than February 1st of each fiscal year. 

Verification of Minimum Teacher Salary Report Instructions: 

The Minimum Teacher Salary Report is available in the NEO Staff Module under the Reports section.  The report is based on a snapshot of staff data entered by each school administrative unit for the FY 20 School Year from October 2019.  

This report should be reviewed by the Business Manager and then Certified by the Superintendent by November 30, 2020. 

Note: School administrative units that do not operate a school will have a blank report and do not need to certify the report. 

If you have questions about the report, or believe information is missing or is incorrect, please contact Paula Gravelle at paula.b.gravelle@maine.gov or 207-624-6792. 

Staff Eligibility for New Minimum Salary Requirements: 

Certified teachers in teaching positions employed by a qualified school administrative unit (as defined by 20-A, M.R.S. §1 (26) and 20-A, M.R.S. §15689 (7-A).)  This includes teaching positions paid with federal funds, and state or local grants, in classrooms or specialized areas (i.e. special education, EL, etc.).  Also included are school counselors, and library/media specialists. 

The following are the staff positions eligible for the minimum salary supplement: 

Classroom Teacher  School Social Worker 
Gifted and Talented Teacher  Special Education Teacher 
Guidance Counselor  Substitute Teacher – Long-term* 
Librarian/Media Specialist  Title I Teacher 
Literacy Specialist  *only for substitute classroom teachers replacing another teacher currently on leave. 

Method of Payment to a Qualifying School Administrative Unit: 

Once the Minimum Teacher Salary report has been certified by the Superintendent, an adjustment to the unit’s ED 279 Report (Section 5B) will be issued and payment included in the remaining monthly subsidy checks.  The adjustment to subsidy must occur no later than February 1st of each fiscal year. 

Method of Payment to Eligible Certified Teachers: 

The method of payment is at the discretion of the school administrative unit.  The adjustment amount is subject to all normal withholding requirements for tax and retirement purposes.Page Break 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

1.) Is teacher defined in statute? No 

  • Teacher vs teacher contract?  For purposes of the distribution of the minimum teacher salary adjustment, eligible staff are those employed by a SAUin a teaching position, and are certified (the certification may be conditional). 
  • Are federally paid teachers included? Yes 
  • State grant paid teachers?  Yes 
  • Does “teacher” reference both classroom and specialists ?  Yes,. 
  • What if a teacher works through an ESC or AOS?  AOS yes, ESC no as it is not a SAU  
  • What if other position types are locally considered teachers by the contract (librarians, Speech, etc.)? This is not the original intent in determining the amount of the appropriation needed but we are exploring the impact of expanding to those staff members employed under a teacher contract. 
  • What about CTE teachers? Teachers in CTE Centers only are eligible. 
  • If CTE teachers are included, what about those at a region (not a SAU) – CTE Regions are not SAUs therefore, they are not eligible under the enacted law. 
  • What about Charter School teachers? Yes 
  • What if they are not certified?  To be eligible, the teacher must be certified. 
  • What about MSSM teachers? No, MSSM is not a SAU. 
  • What about MECDHH teachers?  No, MECDHH is not a SAU. 
  • What about EUT teachers? No, EUT is not a SAU. 
  • What about CDS teachers? No, CDS is not a SAU. 
  • What about the teachers at Long Creek? No, Long Creek is not a SAU. 
  • What about teachers at the LongTerm Drug Treatment Programs?  Yes, if the teacher meets all the eligibility criteria under 1 (a). 
  • What about Special Education teachers at a regional program? Yes, if the teacher meets all the eligibility criteria under 1 (a). 
  • What about teachers at regional alternative education programs? Yes, if the teacher meets all the eligibility criteria under 1 (a). 
  • Or Waterville where the teachers are Waterville employees, but the program is run by a different agency? Yes, if the teacher meets all the eligibility criteria under 1 (a). 
  • What about PreK teachers at programs not directly operated by the SAU? No, as the teacher would not meet the eligibility criteria of being employed by a SAU. 

2.) Is this prorated? Yes 

  • What if a teacher works in multiple school districts?  The proration will be calculated and distributed accordingly. 
  • Part time teachers? The proration will be calculated and distributed accordingly. 

3.) Data Collection 

  • How to collect FY 2020 salary schedules – DOE will not need to collect individual SAU salary schedules; SAU Superintendents will receive a report of eligible staff from the NEO system and will be asked to certify the report. 

4.) Funding for the difference between $35k and their actual salary for the school year 

  • What happens if they negotiate their contract and make no increase to their salary schedule – the enacted statute directs SAUs to do so and DOE will trust that the SAUs follow statute.   
  • Is the calculation only based on their base salary (many teacher contracts include stipend negotiations within them)  Yes. 
  • What about teachers who work during the summer – the minimum teacher salary adjustment will be based on the base, contract salary as reported in NEO. 
  • Do we need to ensure they provided it to the teacher? The enacted statute directs SAUs to do so and DOE will trust that the SAUs follow statute.   
  • Is this being coded as salary, or do we want districts to differentiate it?  There is no reason for DOE to require a SAU to code this differently. 
  • Are the districts supposed to be providing it to them throughout the year, or lumpsum?  The distribution of the adjustment is at the discretion of the SAU. 
  • Will this affect the MSRS contributions especially in the case of federally and state grant paid teachers Yes, when the salary is increased by the SAU via the local contract, the increase will impact the amount of the contribution to MePERS. 

5.) Any additional reporting on their part? No 

 

Funding Available for New or Expanding Pre-K Programs in 2021-2022!

Are you opening a new Pre-K program or expanding an existing program in FY22? – Maine Department of Education will provide funding for FY22 for new or expanded Pre-K programs!

If your SAU is opening or expanding a Pre-K program in the 2021-2022 school year, you are eligible to receive funding on your FY22 ED279 for children you enroll in these new or expanding Pre-K programs in 2021. This means you will receive the funding for enrollment in the same year that you enroll the Pre-K children, without a year delay.

Beginning in FY19, the Essential Programs and Services (EPS) funding formula added an allocation for Pre-K programs’ estimate student count. The Pre-K program estimate count allocation is intended to provide funding for Pre-K programming in advance of actual student enrollment, helping to offset the upfront costs associated with expanding or starting Pre-K programs. This Pre-K program allocation was first authorized into law on July 1, 2018 to begin in FY19 and continue indefinitely.

If you are expanding and would like to receive an FY22 estimate Pre-K allocation, please notify the Maine DOE by completing the FY22 Estimate Pre-K Count Data Form before October 30, 2020. There are 3 questions to be answered:

  1. Choose your SAU from a list
  2. Do you have an existing Pre-K program (FY21)? – Yes/No
  3. Provide your SAU’s Pre-K Estimated Increase Count (new slots available in new or expanding program)

SAUs completing the form must also complete the Pre-K Program Application with DOE’s Early Childhood Team by April 30, 2021 and obtain program approval.

The FY22 Estimate Pre-K Count Data Collection form is meant to capture the FY22 estimate for new and expanding Pre-K program enrollment. The estimate student count data, in addition to the current (FY21) enrollment in an existing Pre-K program, will be used to provide funding on the FY22 ED279. SAUs’ Pre-K total enrollment number, as reported and verified October 1, 2021, should match the combined existing and estimated increase total that was used to calculate funds in the ED279. After October 1, 2021 an audit adjustment, based on actual enrollment reported in NEO on October 1, 2021, will be made to the Pre-K allocation assigned on the FY22 ED279. Please note that this may increase or decrease funding.

For more information about establishing or expanding a Pre-K program, please check out our webpage on the topic, or please contact Paula Gravelle at 624-6792 or Paula.B.Gravelle@maine.gov

 

Priority Notice: Maine DOE seeks public comment on waiving requirement that 21st CCLC programs operate only during non-school hours

In response to the unprecedented obstacles schools, teachers, students, and their families are facing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has offered an additional waiver to state education agencies, pursuant to section 4201(b)(1)(A) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).  Under Title IV, Part B of the ESEA, section 4201(b)(1)(A) requiring that 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) programs operate only during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session.  If granted, this waiver would allow 21st CCLC program providers in Maine to temporarily operate with greater flexibilities to better meet the needs to students and families during the 2020-2021 school year.

This waiver would grant the Maine Department of Education (DOE) temporary authority to permit its 21st CCLC programs to provide supplemental services when school is in session, but students are not receiving in-person instruction.  For example, it would be permitted that a teacher provides additional 21st CCLC-funded academic supports for a group of students during a remote learning day when those students are not otherwise engaged in facilitated instruction with their classroom teacher.

The Maine DOE continues to work diligently to support Maine’s schools and educational communities as the 2020-2021 school year begins.  Given the hybrid instructional approaches many schools have adopted this year, students may benefit from dedicated staff and enhanced resources to help with remote lessons, independent work, and other enrichment opportunities during the portion of the week when remote lessons learning is occurring.  It is for reasons such as these that the Maine DOE has chosen to pursue this waiver.

As part of the statutory requirements for seeking this 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 September 29, 2020 and conclude on October 14, 2020.

Comments may be submitted to: travis.w.doughty@maine.gov

Annual Audit Reminder: Key Dates and Important Information for District Admins

We know that superintendents are extremely busy this summer, preparing for a new school year in a climate full of unknowns. As there is much to organize, we are providing an annual audit reminder, with key dates 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, 2020. 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, 2020.

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.
    • Municipal school units, please note: 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.

  • Extensions will expire no less than 30 days from the date the extension was submitted.
  • 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 that 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.

Exception for a Municipal School Audit

  • Municipalities that do not operate a school and have different fiscal year end than the school may request an exception for the school audit. The exception form and more information may be found on the  Fiscal Review and Compliance webpage.

Please submit all annual audit documents, reports, information requests, questions and other audit correspondence via email to DOE.Audit@Maine.gov or via the direct link provided on the Fiscal Review and Compliance webpage.