Notice of proposed rule change to Chapter 82 School Bus Driver Fitness Determination

The Maine Department of Education is proposing to repeal Chapter 82 School Bus Driver Fitness Determination.  Current motor vehicle laws provide substantial protections for public safety.  The repeal supports local school districts in the selection and hiring of school bus drivers.  This repeal affects bus drivers hired by public schools.

Written comments should be mailed to:  Maine Department of Education, Attn:  Jaci Holmes, 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0023, or emailed to jaci.holmes@maine.gov .  The comment deadline is March 16, 2018.

 

Due date for school facilities inventory reporting extended to 01/12/18

The Maine Department of Education has extended the due date for the FY17 School Facilities Inventory Report to January 12, 2018.

The due date has been extended to ensure NEO functionality is ready to receive the incoming FY17 data. Updated instructions have been posted on the NEO Dashboard.

For technical assistance with reporting contact the Maine DOE helpdesk at medms.helpdesk@maine.gov.

For more information and questions about policy contact Pat Hinckley at pat.hinckley@maine.gov or call 624-6886.

 

School Bus Purchase Program Applications Open November 1, 2017

The Department is accepting applications for the Maine School Bus Purchase Program beginning November 1, 2017.  Program applications will close on November 25, 2017 with no extension.

The program application is available on the NEO Transportation data system.  Instructions to submit a request are located on the NEO Dashboard.  Refer to pages 20-23 of the PowerPoint entitled School Bus Purchase Program – How It Works.  School Bus Purchase Program subsidy can be used towards the purchase of new school buses.

If you have questions about the School Bus Purchase Program, contact Pat Hinckley at Pat.Hinckley@maine.gov .

U.S. EPA 2017 School Bus Rebate Program now accepting applications

The U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency is offering an opportunity to receive up to $20,000 per vehicle to replace your older school buses, and up to $6,000 per vehicle for retrofits. Older school buses without emission reduction retrofits emit significant amounts of harmful exhaust, so participating in this program will help improve the health of students and other members of your community.

The 2017 School Bus Rebate Program is now open and applications will be accepted until November 14, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. ET. Please visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/clean-diesel-rebates for the Program Guide with all the details as well as FAQs and the application form.

Eligible Entities

  • Regional, state, or tribal agencies including school districts and municipalities, or
  • Private entities that operate school buses under a contract with an entity listed above

Important Dates

September 28, 2017 Application period opens
October 5, 2017,

2-3 p.m. ET

Webinar for applicants: Link to Webinar

Call-In Number:  866-299-3188

Access Code: 20 2343 9571

November 14, 2017,

4 pm ET

Application period closes
January 2018 (estimated) EPA posts selectees and waiting list online. Official selection letters emailed to selectees
April 2018 (estimated) Purchase order submission deadline for replacement buses and retrofits
September 2018 (estimated) Deadline for submitting payment documentation demonstrating installation of retrofits, delivery of replacement buses, and scrappage of old buses.
Within one month after receipt of payment documentation Selectees will receive their rebate payment

If you have questions, please contact CleanDiesel@epa.gov or Pat Hinckley, Maine DOE Transportation and Facilities Specialist at Pat.Hinckley@maine.gov.

 

Repeal and replacement of Chapter 81: Uniform School Bus Standards for Pupil Transportation in Maine

The enacted new regulations that replaced Chapter 81: Uniform School Bus Standards for Pupil Transportation in Maine and became effective on 9/16/17 can be found on the following link: http://maine.gov/doe/transportation/laws/index.html

In order to provide increased clarity and durability to its regulations relating to student transportation, the Department broke the existing Chapter 81 into six shorter regulations, Chapters 81-86. Most of the language of the former Chapter 81, with the exception of specifications, remains; however, minor changes to existing regulatory language were made in order to modernize the regulations with technical, language, and process updates to make it easier for all to understand and use.  The enacted new rules include the following updates:

  • Chapter 81 School Transportation Safety identifies uniform safety requirements that include student riding safety practices training, school bus driver entry-level training, transportation employee in-service safety training, prohibitions, school bus daily inspections, contracts, year-end transportation reports, and records retention.
  • Chapter 82 School Bus Driver Fitness Determination retains the requirement of an annual physical and adapts to federal changes by moving to use of the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Medical Examination Report Form and National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. Please note annual physical renewal date will remain the same.
  • Chapter 83 School Transportation Operations Program establishes requirements for access to transportation operations software made available by the Department at no cost to public schools, including public charter schools, and private schools approved for the receipt of public funds.
  • Chapter 84 School Bus Refurbishment Program contains requirements derived from the existing Memorandum of Understanding between the Department and the Maine Military Authority for participation in the School Bus Refurbishment Program.
  • Chapter 85 School Bus Purchase Program retains most of the language while modernizing the regulation with technical, language, and process updates.
  • Chapter 86 Maine Uniform School Bus Specifications updates school bus specifications to align with both state and federal standards by adopting, with exceptions, the National School Transportation Specifications and Procedures 2015 as enacted by the National Congress on School Transportation.

Questions should be directed to Pat Hinckley, Transportation and Facilities Administration, at 624-6886 or pat.hinckley@maine.gov .

Notice of proposed rule changes to Chapter 81: Uniform School Bus Standards for Pupil Transportation in Maine

The Maine Department of Education is proposing to repeal and replace Chapter 81: Uniform School Bus Standards for Pupil Transportation in Maine in order to modernize the rule.

The proposal involves four major changes:

  1. Change the format of the rule to separate the rule into shorter and cleaner regulations.
  2. Remove forms from the rule making it easier to adapt to national changes and align with the federal medical examination regulations.
  3. Update the bus specifications to meet current bus technology, standards, and specifications.
  4. Clarify safety, training, and program language to make the rule easier to interpret.

Proposed language of rule Chapters 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, and 86 can be found on the Department’s website. Written comments should be mailed to: Maine Department of Education, Attn: Pat Hinckley, 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME  04333-0023, or emailed to pat.hinckley@maine.gov. The comment deadline is Friday, Jun. 16, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.

Priority Notice: Transportation EFT-21 and EFT-24 annual report due date extension

EFT-21 and Transportation Safety and Training Report and EFT-24 Transportation Vehicle Mileage and Operations Annual Data Report due date extension

The due date for the year-end Transportation Vehicle Mileage and Operations Annual Data Report (EFT-24) and the Transportation Safety and Training Report (EFT-21) have been extended to March 31, 2017 in order to accommodate design updates.  The new updated reports will open March 1, 2016.

Between March 1, 2016 and March 31, 2016 all districts must complete and certify FY16 data for both reports.  Submit your data early.  Districts that reported EFT-21 or EFT-24 FY16 data before March 1, 2016 must log into the NEO data system to answer a few new questions, review data, and complete superintendent certification.  This extension is the last due date extension for transportation annual reports EFT-21 and EFT-24.

Delayed and late reports will lead to withheld subsidy until reports are received per Title 20-A §6801-A §§2.

For policy questions regarding the EFT-21 or EFT-24, contact Pat Hinckley at pat.hinckley@maine.gov.

For assistance with access to NEO data system, contact the Maine DOE helpdesk at medms.helpdesk@maine.gov.