Category Archives: Operations

Notice: MaineCare Billing For Contracted Services

School administrative units who contract with a provider to provide special education related services for MaineCare eligible students with an IEP/IFSP should be aware of certain requirements concerning billing.

First, the contracted provider must be enrolled as a MaineCare school-based provider.  Second, the contracted provider must bill MaineCare according to the MaineCare school-based billing guide specifically indicating that the service was provided at a school location.

All school administrative units who contract with a provider of special education related services have responsibility for the seed portion of the claims.  This is handled as a deduction from state subsidy.  When contracted service providers are not correctly enrolled in MaineCare as school-based or are not correctly billing for school-based services, the “seed” is not correctly assessed and goes unpaid.

Please direct any questions regarding this matter to Denise.Towers@maine.gov.

Notice: MaineCare Seed payment adjustments made, report review by December 23, 2016

MaineCare Seed Adjustments

In consideration of the recent seed recovery issues, the Department will be changing the process of reviewing reports and the recovery of the seed for those reports.

Current Process:

  • Maine DOE adjusts SAU’s ED 279.
  • Maine DOE sends notification to SAUs that the quarterly reports are ready for review.
  • SAUs request corrections; those corrections (after verification) are adjusted in a future quarter.

New Process:

  • Maine DOE sends notification to SAUs that the quarterly reports are ready for review.
  • The Department allows approximately 30 days for SAU to review reports.
  • Any requests for corrections (after verification) will be adjusted.
  • Maine DOE adjusts SAU’s ED 279.

The new process will allow for a review of data and corrections to be made before the ED 279 is adjusted for seed recovery beginning with the Q416 adjustment scheduled in January.

MaineCare Seed payment adjustments made, report review by December 23, 2016

The 2016-17 subsidy checks for General Purpose Aid for local schools will reflect adjustments for MaineCare Seed payments paid by the Maine DOE on behalf of school administrative units (SAUs) for the following:

  • 2016 Quarter 3 revised MaineCare payment adjustments

Detailed student reports for Quarter 3 are now available in Infinite Campus (State Edition). Instructions for accessing MaineCare Seed Payment Reports in Infinite Campus are available here.

Updated 2016-17 state subsidy printouts (ED279s) reflecting these adjustments are available at www.maine.gov/doe/eps/.

Reporting issues:

To ensure accurate adjustments to subsidy, SAU staff must review student-by-student reports for Quarter 3 and report any issues on these reports no later than December 23, 2016. Any questions regarding these reports should be addressed to denise.towers@maine.gov.

If you disagree that a particular student or time period should be on the report, please provide the reason that you disagree along with supporting evidence and also include the following:

  • Identify the type of report (Public or Private) and the quarter in which the claims are located
  • Student’s State Student ID
  • Service provided dates (to and from)
  • Total amount of Seed being disputed

Should this inquiry result in a change to the subsidy adjustment, the revision will be reflected in subsequent monthly subsidy checks.

Summer services:

The Department has found that a number of students are provided services during the summer. If the student was a resident of your SAU during those months, your SAU is still fiscally responsible for the MaineCare Seed as this is considered an extended school year for these students. Students in extended school years must be enrolled during these periods to ensure accurate adjustments.

For more information on MaineCare Seed payments, including links to prior communications, accounting instructions and instructions for accessing MaineCare Seed Payment Reports in Infinite Campus, please click here. For more information or technical assistance related to MaineCare Seed, please contact Denise Towers at Denise.towers@maine.gov.

Reminder: annual audits due December 30, 2016

  • The Department requests all annual audits, requests, and correspondence be submitted electronically to DOE.Audit@maine.gov, or through the direct link on the audit website.
  • Municipalities are not required to submit, and are kindly requested to withhold from submitting, their municipal annual report/town report to the Department. The municipal annual report cannot be accepted in lieu of the complete municipal annual audit. Municipal school units are required to submit either a combined annual audit or a school department audit and a municipal audit to Maine DOE.
  • 20-A MRSA §6051 (6) states that annual audit reports are due within six months after the end of the audit period; e.g., reports for the fiscal year ending June 30 are due on or before December 30.
  • Per 20-A MRSA §6051 (1-K), Maine DOE must receive a SEFA (Schedule of Expenditure of Federal Awards), which includes federal award expenditures for all reporting entities, regardless if an 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 US DOE and is due at the time of the annual audit. In municipal school units where a combined audit is not conducted, this means that Maine DOE receives a SEFA for the School Department and the city/town.
  • If a management letter is prepared by the auditor, a copy should be submitted to Maine DOE with the annual audit as this letter provides Maine DOE with information needed to conduct sub-recipient monitoring as required by US DOE. Authority to request this is provided to MDOE under 20-A MRSA §6051 (1-F).
  • 20-A MRSA §6051 (1) states that it is the school board’s responsibility to submit the audit unless it is included in the engagement letter that the audit firm will submit the audit to Maine DOE on behalf of the school board.

State and Federal Requirements

State Requirements

20-A MRSA §6051
Title 20-A: Education, part 3: elementary and secondary education, Chapter 221: school records, audits and reports, Subchapter 2: audits

Federal Requirements

2 CFR 200.501 Audit Requirements

  • Audit required. A non-Federal entity that expends $750,000 or more during the non-Federal entity’s fiscal year in Federal awards must have a single or program-specific audit conducted for that year in accordance with the provisions of this Part.

Information on certain provisions of LD 1576

LD 1576, an Act To Amend Certain Education Laws went into effect as Public Law 2015, Chapter 448.

Among the provisions of the law are changes that affect students who may have no school in which to enroll. The law directs the Commissioner of Education to designate a receiving school administrative unit (SAU) to enroll a student who resides in a SAU that neither maintains a school nor contracts with another SAU. The law contains a provision allowing the superintendent of the residing SAU or the superintendent of the receiving SAU, if dissatisfied with the Commissioner’s decision, within ten calendar days of the Commissioner’s decision, to request that the State Board of Education review the transfer. The State Board may approve or disapprove the Commissioner’s designation within 45 calendar days of receiving the request and shall provide a written decision which is final.

The law also provides that if a student under this section is receiving special education services, the state subsidy of special education costs for the transferred student may not be reduced as a result of the transfer.  For other provisions related to funding for students with disabilities, please refer to the law here.

LD 1576 also requires a resident SAU to pay to the receiving SAU tuition and other costs directly related to the student’s special education program, and costs associated with due process proceedings.

The law also provides that, when the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) places a state ward in an out-of-state residential treatment center, the Department of Education Commissioner may designate the Maine DOE as having responsibility for oversight of the child’s individualized education program to ensure that child receives a free, appropriate public education.

If you have questions about these provisions of law, please contact Debra Plowman, Maine DOE’s Director of Policies and Programs, at debra.plowman@maine.gov or 624-6620.

Free webinar for schools on how to deal with the browntail moth

The browntail moth has spread across Maine from York to Millinocket. As a result, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry is offering a free webinar to provide guidance to schools on dealing with issue of the browntail moth and related health concerns (dermatitis and respiratory effects) on school campuses.

The webinar will be held November 17, 2016 from 10-11 AM to help schools learn how to recognize this pest and what can be done to address it.

Presenters will be: Barbara Chisholm, School Nurse, Gardiner Area High School; Charlene Donahue, Entomologist, Maine Forest Service; Jon Stonier, Director of Operations, MSAD 11. No advance registration is required for this Adobe Connect webinar.

To participate, click here approximately ten minutes before the webinar is scheduled to begin, then log in as a guest. (Note: you may be prompted to download the Adobe Connect software if your computer does not have it already). Information about Adobe Connect (computer software and audio requirements) is available here.

For more information contact Kathy Murray at the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry at kathy.murray@maine.gov or 287-7616.

Each SAU to file its bullying policy and procedures with Maine DOE by July 1, 2017

In an effort to address bullying behavior in our schools to ensure student safety and an inclusive learning environment, SAUs are required to file their bullying policies and procedures with the Maine Department of Education.  An Act To Prohibit Bullying and Cyberbullying in Schools, passed into law in 2012, asks for transparency and monitoring which in turn allows for accurate and timely technical assistance from the Department when school personnel, parents and guardians, and the public have questions related to bullying.  All superintendents will receive notification through email from the Department’s Student Assistance Coordinator about how to file their SAU’s bullying policy and procedures with the Department.  The deadline for filing is July 1, 2017.  Once these policies and procedures are filed with the Department, superintendents will receive confirmation and guidance as to whether or not their policies and procedures are consistent with the model policy (including procedures) revised by the commissioner.

For additional information or questions, please contact Sarah Ricker, Maine DOE’s Student Assistance Coordinator, at 624-6685 or sarah.ricker@maine.gov.

New version of NEO Transportation to launch Oct. 28

A new version of the NEO Transportation application will launch Friday, Oct. 28. This release includes new features intended to make bus data management easier, a clean-up of features rolled out in the initial release, and an edit of features available to districts.

A ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ (FAQs) link has been added to the home page of the transportation application. The FAQs provide instructions to guide people through correct steps and buttons to complete a function.  These FAQ instructions also describe some of the codes and statuses used in the new application.

The new transportation features include:

  • Only one way to add a vehicle into inventory (EFT-20 school bus purchase report)
    • In the past a purchase report could get down the wrong path and be marked in service before it was realized that the purchase information needed to be added. This potential error and submittal problem has been eliminated.
  • Vehicle information all on one screen (EFT-20 school bus purchase report)
    • One screen will contain the mileage and equipment data previously entered by the transportation manager and the purchasing information previously entered by the finance manager.  This makes data entry easier.
  • Additional vehicle and purchase statuses (EFT-17 school bus replacement request and vehicle inventory)
    • Several new statuses have been included to help indicate the exact status of a vehicle in inventory, a bus purchase request, or both.  District users can now see the status of each bus request as it moves through the School Bus Purchase Program process and see the status of a bus as it moves to disposal, transfer, or both. This makes the process easier for districts to implement.
  • Data entry edits
    • Several new edit buttons have been added to NEO Transportation screens.  Now districts will be able to correct their data entry errors and no longer need to request edits from Maine DOE.
  • Reports and downloads
    • Many district screens now have the ability to download and/or print data on the screen and new state reports can be found on the reports tab.  Data downloads and reports provide information for districts to plan budgets and inform school boards about transportation.
  • Improved navigation
    • The old version of the application seemed to experience navigation blocks.  This has been resolved making it easier for district users to complete and edit entries.
  • Automated e-mail notifications
    • The application will now send out e-mails when certain events occur, e.g.:   the superintendent will receive an email when a bus request is approved, the superintendent will receive an e-mail to confirm intent of the district to purchase a bus after the purchase has been approved by Maine DOE, the district finance manager will receive e-mails if EFT-20 school bus purchase reports are not entered on time during the purchase fiscal year, and Maine DOE will receive an e-mail when an emergency bus request is placed.
  • Automated removal of subsidy allocation if purchases are not completed
    • Bus purchases must be completed within the fiscal year for which the purchase was approved so that vehicle subsidy allocation can begin the fiscal year after a new bus is purchased.  If an approved bus purchase is not completed by submitting timely reports, the subsidy allocation will automatically be deleted.  This process will begin in fiscal year 2018.

Before you begin using the new version of NEO Transportation it is important that you consult the FAQ section in the transportation section on the NEO dashboard. Instructions are included with answers to the FAQs.

If you have questions about transportation policy, please contact Maine DOE’s Transportation and Facilities Administrator, Pat Hinckley, at pat.hinckley@maine.gov.

EPA 2016 School Bus Rebate Program application deadline is Nov. 1

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers grants up to $25,000 per vehicle to help pay for a new school bus and up to $6,000 per vehicle to pay for vehicle retrofits.  Regional, state, or tribal agencies including school districts and municipalities or private entities that operate school buses under a contract with these organizations are eligible for these grants.

Grant details are available at this website:  https://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/clean-diesel-rebates .

Annual School Bus Purchase Program opens November 1

The Maine Department of Education is accepting applications for new school buses through the annual School Bus Purchase Program. The application process opens Nov. 1 and closes Nov. 25.

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Major Capital School Construction application now available

Maine public schools invited to participate in new application cycle

Augusta – Maine public schools wishing to participate in the new application cycle for major capital construction projects can now download the application from the Maine Department of Education’s website.

The direct link to the application is:  http://www.maine.gov/doe/facilities/documents/application2017-18.docx.

The application will be due to the Department by April 14, 2017.

A new application cycle enables Maine public schools to apply for state support in order to undertake a major renovation or addition project, or to build a new facility.

If a school applied during the last cycle in 2010-2011, they will need to reapply if they wish to be included in this application cycle.

The Department will review completed applications and create a “needs-based” initial priority list, to be followed by the creation of a final priority list and an approved projects list.  The entire application and review process is expected to take about two years and is governed by Chapter 61 of Department of Education and State Board of Education joint rules.

Questions about the application should be directed to Scott Brown, Maine DOE’s Director of School Construction, at scott.brown@maine.gov. Questions and answers that are applicable to the process will be posted online at: http://www.maine.gov/doe/facilities/construction/ in an effort to provide all schools the same information.

Media inquiries should be directed to Jamie Logan, Maine DOE’s Communications Director, at jamie.e.logan@maine.gov or at 624-6747.