Synergy training dates and registration for special education and CTE

The Maine DOE is offering Synergy training dates for Special Purpose Private Schools (SPPS) and Regional Programs, and for Career and Technical Education (CTE). Dates and registration information are provided below in two focused half day sessions.

In these sessions, participants will learn how to use Synergy DOE to upload student data required by the State of Maine. In addition, participants will learn how to use Synergy DOE to enter and validate student data that is not included in the upload process.

After completing this session, participants will understand how to perform uploads and will be able to:

* Log in to Synergy and navigate the interface
* Use and understand Synergy concepts and terminology
* Change Focus to view other years/schools
* Create personal Navigation Menus
* View existing student information
* Create upload for concurrent enrollments
* Create upload for program enrollments
* Find a single student or multiple students
* Enter and modify student data
* Upload Quarterly Attendance
* Upload Behavior Information
* Enter Truancy information
* Use a Matrix to print student information or export student information to other desktop programs
* Create student filters
* Create Graph information
* Preview and Print common reports
* Save report settings
* Make corrections/additions on existing records

In addition to the two dates, the session will shared via Zoom so attendants can log in.

***August 14 – For Special Purpose Private Schools (SPPS) and Regional Programs Only***

SPPS Registration

***August 16 – For Career and Technical Education Programs (CTE) Only***

CTE Registration

23 State House Station
Room 103
Augusta, Maine

8:30-12:00

 

If you have any questions please contact Shannon Bartash, Data Systems Helpdesk Manager for the Maine Department of Education at 207.624.6799 or Shannon.Bartash@maine.gov.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Guidance on usage of additional state funds from 2017-2018 budget

The Department has received several requests from school administrative units for guidance regarding the interpretation of PL 2017 Chapter 284, Section JJJJJJJ. The Department offers this guidance with the caveats that 1) Differing legal interpretations may be put forth and in those instances, we would recommend consulting your school unit’s legal counsel and 2) this guidance applies to the fiscal year 2017-2018 only; no analysis has yet begun regarding the application of this section of statute to fiscal year 2018-2019.

The Department offers guidance on the following scenarios for fiscal year 2017-2018:

Scenario 1: The school administrative unit has passed a budget through all applicable stages and the budget did not include a warrant article to provide the school board with authority to use any additional state funds received.  Under this scenario, Section JJJJJJJ-4 would apply and provide 50% of the increase in subsidy to reduce the school administrative unit’s required local contribution.  For combined school administrative units (RSU, SAD or CSD), the Department’s suggested distribution of the 50% subsidy increase, based on the statutory language, is posted at the link below.  For combined school units with a Private & Special Law that amends the required local share calculation under 20-A § 15688, the Department suggests utilizing the required local contribution percentages as calculated under that Private & Special Law.

http://www.maine.gov/education/data/eps/fy18/index.html

Scenario 2: The school administrative unit has passed a budget through all applicable stages and the budget did include a warrant article providing the school board with the authority to use any additional state funds received.  Under this scenario, Section JJJJJJJ-5 applies and the school administrative unit may utilize the increase in subsidy as permitted under the approved article.

Scenario 3: The school administrative unit has not passed a budget.  This school administrative unit would present budget calculations which reflect the required local share and state subsidy amounts as displayed on the ED 279 dated July 12, 2017.  Section JJJJJJJ-5 would not apply as tax relief is provided via the reduction of the required mill expectation in the enacted ED 279.

Should you have questions or need additional clarification, please contact tyler.backus@maine.gov paula.b.gravelle@maine.gov or joanne.allen@maine.gov

PRIORITY NOTICE: 2017-18 Enacted ED279 subsidy printouts now available

FY 2017-2018 ED 279 subsidy printouts, based on Public Law 2017 Ch. 284 are now available on the Department’s website: http://www.maine.gov/education/data/eps/epsmenu.htm

The 279 printouts reflect statutory changes to the funding formula as enacted by this legislation. (REMINDER: there will be a scheduled outage of the NEO system, where the 279s are available, from 7/13 – 7/17.)

A comparison of the State Contribution from the Not Yet Enacted Governor’s Recommended Funding Level to the Enacted Funding Level, is available at the following link: http://www.maine.gov/education/data/eps/fy18/index.html

As a reminder, Chapter 284, Part JJJJJJJ of the enacted budget bill contains language regarding required local action on the use of any increase in State subsidy. Please review this statutory language below and consult your school unit’s legal counsel should you need additional guidance. Please note that this section applies for both fiscal years 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Should you have questions regarding the subsidy printout, please contact the School Finance Team: tyler.backus@maine.gov; paula.b.gravelle@maine.gov; ida.batista@maine.gov

Public Law 2017 Ch. 284 PART JJJJJJJ

Sec. JJJJJJJ-4. 20-A MRSA §15690-A is enacted to read:

  • 15690-A. Local action on increase in state share percentage Notwithstanding section 1485, subsection 5, this section applies to school budgets adopted for fiscal years 2017-18 and 2018-19.
  1. Required reduction in local contribution. If the budget of a school administrative unit is based on assumptions that include an increase in state share, pursuant to section 15690, subsection 1, paragraph C, over the amount used in the most recent approved budget as the result of an increase in the state share of the school administrative unit’s total cost of funding public education from kindergarten to grade 12 under this chapter, the increase in state share must be used as follows.
  2. Fifty percent of the increase in state share pursuant to section 15690, subsection 1, paragraph C that is attributable to the increase in the state share over the state share amount used in the most recent approved budget must be used to lower the school administrative unit’s local contribution to the total cost of funding public education from kindergarten to grade 12.
  3. The remaining 50% may be used only to increase expenditures for school purposes in cost center categories approved by the local school board, increase the allocation of finances for a reserve fund or provide an additional amount to lower the required local contribution to the total cost of education.
  4. Warrant. If the budget of the school administrative unit is based on assumptions that include an increase in state share, pursuant to section 15690, subsection 1, paragraph C, over the amount used in the most recent approved budget as the result of an increase in the state share of the school administrative unit’s total cost of funding public education from kindergarten to grade 12 under this chapter, an article in substantially the form in paragraph A must be used to authorize the use of the increase in state share for the expenditures specified in subsection 1, paragraph B after the requirements of subsection 1, paragraph A are met.
  5. “Article…….: To see what sums will be appropriated for the following purposes from the amount of the anticipated increase in state share of the school administrative unit’s total cost of funding public education from kindergarten to grade 12 over the amount used in the most recent approved budget as the result of an increase in the state share of the school administrative unit’s total cost of funding public education from kindergarten to grade 12 under this chapter:

(1) (Amount appropriated) To increase expenditures for school purposes in cost center categories approved by the board (list of amounts by category should be provided);

(2) (Amount appropriated) To increase the allocation of finances in a reserve fund for the purpose of (name of reserve fund); and

(3) (Amount appropriated) To provide a decrease in the local contribution, as defined in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, section 15690, subsection 1, paragraph A or B, section 15690, subsection 2 or section 15690, subsection 3 for local property taxpayers for funding public education.”

  1. If as a result of a vote on the article specified in paragraph A, subparagraph (3) a school administrative unit does not raise 100% of the required local contribution pursuant to section 15690, subsection 1, the school administrative unit may petition the commissioner to waive the required proration of the state share pursuant to section 15690, subsection 1, paragraph C.
  2. If the article is approved by the voters at the budget meeting, the board of the school administrative unit may increase expenditures for the purposes approved in the article without holding a special budget meeting and budget validation referendum.

Sec. JJJJJJJ-5. Permitted use of additional funding for 2017-18 school budget. Notwithstanding the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, section 15690-A, for school budgets for the 2017-18 fiscal year only, articles approved by the voters that earmarked additional state funding contributions for increased expenditures for school purposes in fiscal year 2017-18 are permitted as approved.

MEDIA RELEASE: Finalists identified for Maine DOE regional, integrated high school facility pilot

Out of seven applications, three finalists have been selected to complete the final application, which is due at the end of the year.

Augusta, Maine – Commissioner Robert G. Hasson today announced that the Maine Department of Education (DOE) has authorized three applicants – consisting of partnerships between school districts and their CTE, higher education, and business partners – to move forward to complete part 2 of the application for an Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Education Facility Pilot project.

The 3 projects that have been identified to complete part 2 are as follows:

  • Fort Kent Community High School and Valley Rivers Middle School (MSAD 27), Wisdom Middle/High School (MSAD 33), Madawaska Middle/High School, and St. John Valley Technology Center. The application seeks to combine the three high schools and create one high school and CTE center.
  • Dexter Regional High School (MSAD 46), Piscataquis Community Secondary School (MSAD 4/RSU 80), Forest Hills High School (RSU 82/MSAD 12), Greenville Consolidated School, and Tri-County Technical Center (TCTC). The application seeks to combine the two high schools and create a new high school and CTE center.
  • Houlton Middle/High School (RSU 29), Southern Aroostook High School (RSU 50), Katahdin High School (RSU 50), Hodgdon Junior/High School (RSU 70), East Grand School (RSU 84), and Region 2 School of Applied Technology. The application includes five schools, spanning three counties, and seeks to combine with Region 2 School of Applied Technology.

“As we have traveled the state to discuss this unique and innovative opportunity for regional collaboration and construction, we have seen communities embrace the opportunity to imagine new possibilities for higher student achievement,” said Commissioner Hasson. “It is my hope that the pilot project that is eventually selected will set a new standard for regional approaches to high school, for expanding access to career and technical education, and for higher education and industry partnerships.”

In January, Commissioner Hasson and the State Board of Education announced the opportunity for partnering districts to submit plans intended to create and/or upgrade education facilities integrated with a career and technical school, the University of Maine System, and the Maine Community College System. Prior to the application deadline, Commissioner Hasson and representatives from the Maine Department of Education’s school facilities team and the Office of the Governor held four statewide information sessions for interested school districts in Presque Isle, Biddeford, Bangor and Augusta.

Part 1 of the application focused primarily on identifying the partners in each project, it was due May 1, 2017, and was evaluated by a team at the Department of Education.

Each of the applicants advancing on to Part 2 will have six months to complete additional requirements including a more comprehensive proposal for each project, an overview of the proposed model, an overview of the technical and financial supports needed from the Department in order to fully develop and implement the model, and evidence of approval votes by the various partners involved.

Upon receipt, review, and rating of all Part 2 applications by the Maine Department of Education, final scores will be established by combining Part 1 & Part 2 scores, and will be used to present a recommendation to the State Board of Education. The Department reserves the right to recommend more than one final project or to reject all applications.

Once the successful pilot project is identified and selected, the Department of Education intends to provide funds for required planning work associated with the development of the project (facilitation, legal, start up, referendum, etc.). Decisions about renovation, and/or expansion or building a new facility will be made during this planning phase.

“The recently passed budget makes a firm commitment to unlocking regional possibilities,” said Commissioner Hasson. “Based on the creativity and energy we have seen around this new program, I believe local communities will rise to the occasion and set a new standard for what they can achieve working together.”

The 3 projects will move forward with the next round of the application process, which involves work sessions with the Maine DOE and a December 29, 2017 due date.

More information about the pilot can be found on the Maine DOE’s Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Education Facility Pilot web page.

For more information contact: Rachel Paling at (207) 624-6747 or rachel.paling@maine.gov

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FY 2018 Gifted and Talented program application now available

The FY2018 annual gifted and talented program and budget approval application is now available on the Maine DOE webite. The deadline for submission is Sept. 30, 2017. All school administrative units (SAU) are required to complete a renewal application, initial application, or waiver request.

Detailed instructions, the renewal application, the initial application, and a waiver request are available on the Department’s Gifted and Talented website.

Gifted and talented educational programs serve students who excel or demonstrate the potential to excel beyond their peers in terms of general intellectual ability, a specific academic aptitude or artistic ability. The Department requires schools identify and service gifted and talented students. A comprehensive, K-12 gifted and talented program ensures such students are provided with challenging curriculum commensurate with their abilities.

As a reminder, gifted and talented programs approved during FY2018 are for FY2020 funding.

If you have questions about the forms, please contact Maine DOE’s School Finance Coordinator Ida Batista at gt.doe@maine.gov or 624-6795.

Statement about the 2017-18 budget and how it will affect ED279s

As you likely know by now, the biennial budget was enacted on July 4, 2017, and included finalized funding levels for 2017-18 State school subsidies (Public Law 2017 Ch. 284 Part C). While the Department appreciates that school districts and local governments are eager for updated funding projections for each district, it is important to note that this legislation includes a number of statutory changes to the formula that will take time to incorporate into the ED279 computer system. The estimated date that new ED279s subsidy printouts will be available is no later than July 21.  As soon as these are available, a statement will be issued when the printouts have been posted to ED279 website at http://www.maine.gov/doe/eps/

The Department’s School Finance staff is working as quickly as possible, however they will need time to perform the necessary quality control steps to ensure that the amount for each school administrative unit is accurate.

It has come to our attention that other organizations have attempted to predict the amount of increase for each SAU. We caution you that these may not be accurate as they likely do not account for the formula changes that were enacted in Ch. 284. Only department issued amounts, which will be available on the ED279s when they are ready, should be used for budgeting purposes.

Also, please be aware that there is language in Ch. 284 Part JJJJJJJ of the enacted budget bill regarding the local action on any increase in their State subsidy and the use of the increased funds relating to requirements for reduction in local contribution and limitations on use of funds for increased expenditures. Please note that this section applies for both fiscal years 2017-18 and 2018-19 and may be found on page 817 of the budget bill, at the link below.

PL 2017 Ch. 284: http://legislature.maine.gov/ros/LawsOfMaine/breeze/Law/getDocById/?docId=57293

Please be assured that the Department is acutely aware of the need for updated information as soon as possible, and appreciates the difficulty that the delayed enactment of the state’s biennial budget has created on the local budgeting process for schools and municipalities. Our staff is committed to working as quickly as possible to provide you with the accurate information you need to finalize your budget. Thank you for your patience during this time.

Notice of Special Purpose Private School Tuition Rate Change – Future Builders School

Pursuant to Title 20-A, Chapter 303, subchapter 3§7302, the Maine Department of Education Special Services team has authorized a 2017 fiscal year rate change for Future Builders School effective July 1, 2017. The daily rate for Future Builders School will be $190, this rate will only apply to billing for days of attendance starting July 1, 2017.

Billing during the 2018 fiscal year for Future Builders School will still be subject to a rate change determined by analyzing expenditure report budgets submitted for the previous year.

For more information contact Tyler Backus, Maine DOE School Finance and Compliance Coordinator at 207-624-6635 or tyler.backus@maine.gov.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Deadline for Small, Rural School Achievement funding is June 30th

This is an urgent reminder for those districts that are eligible to receive Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) funding.  Please note that June 30, 2017 is the final date to submit your grant application.  Your FY 2017 Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) grant application must be completely entered in Grants.gov by 4:30 p.m. in order to receive funding for 2017-18. In past years this money had been automatically set aside for you and because of the changes with ESSA, now you must complete the application annually.

To complete the application, your district must have a DUNS number that is active and registered in the System for Award Management, and you must register in https://www.grants.gov as an “Organization Applicant.” Additional details about the application process and requirements are available on the USDOE SRSA website’s Applicant Information page.

If you have not yet submitted your application, please do so as soon as possible before June 30. If you need assistance completing the application, consider attending one of the ongoing SRSA application walk-through web seminars sponsored by USDOE on the following dates:

For additional information, please contact Dan Weeks at Daniel.R.Weeks@maine.gov or 207-624-6749.

New Online Certification System Training for Superintendents and Support Chairs

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) will be offering training sessions for superintendents and support system chairs to learn the new online certification system this spring and summer (online training for educators will also be available later this summer).

At each training session participants can expect to learn how to log in, navigate the system, approve educator certifications, and manage their own certification. Participants will need to bring a lap top.

Training dates, times and locations are as follows:

June 19, 2017
8:30am – 12:00pm
University of Maine at Augusta, Jewett Hall, RM 190

June 20, 2017
1:00pm – 4:30pm
University of Maine at Augusta, Jewett Hall, RM 190

July 26, 2017
8:30am – 12:00pm
University of Maine at Orono, Donald P. Corbett Business Building, RM 100

July 27, 2017
1:00pm – 4:30pm
University of Maine at Orono, Donald P. Corbett Business Building, RM 100

Please RSVP to Brenda Vigue at brenda.vigue@maine.gov or (207) 624-6852.

Maine DOE Summer Training Dates and Registration for NEO and Synergy

The Maine Department of Education is offering five half-day sessions for NEO updates and training and one half-day for Synergy Training. An additional full-day session will also be held for districts who manually enter information into the State level Student Information System.

During the NEO session, Maine DOE Helpdesk members will review changes to NEO, which include Maine State Reports previously located in Infinite Campus State Edition. Other changes to NEO include the new Data Collection and Reporting (DC&R) module, access to NEO, changes to NEO staff, and clarification of Staff and District Roles. There will also be a short session on Student Data Privacy. Attendees should include those who currently complete NEO Reports, those who previously worked with student reports in Infinite Campus State Edition, and those who will be doing these activities in the coming school year. Student data certifications will now be done in NEO, so Superintendents who certify reports may also want to attend.

A light lunch will be provided, and during this time, Maine DOE and Synergy staff will be available for questions.

For the Synergy session, participants will learn how to use Synergy DOE to upload student data required by the State of Maine. In addition, participants will learn how to use Synergy DOE to enter and validate student data that is not included in the upload process.

Upon completion of this session, participants will understand how to perform uploads and will be able to:

* Log in to Synergy and navigate the interface
* Use and understand Synergy concepts and terminology
* Change Focus to view other years/schools
* Create personal Navigation Menus
* View existing student information
* Find a single student or multiple students
* Enter and modify student data
* Truancy
* Discipline
* Use a Matrix to print student information or export student information to other desktop programs
* Create student filters
* Create Graph information
* Preview and Print common reports
* Save report settings

The August 1st, Manual Entry Session will be an all-day in-depth look at how to enter student information directly into the system. (NEO topics will not be covered at this session).

Dates and Registration

July 25
Houlton High School
7 Bird Street
Houlton, ME 04730
http://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm?name=doeneosynergytraininghoulton

July 26
Ellsworth Elementary School/Middle School
20 Forest Avenue
Ellsworth, ME 04605
http://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm?name=doeneosynergytrainingellsworth

July 27
Orion Performing Arts Center
50 Republic Avenue
Topsham, ME 04086
http://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm?name=doeneosynergytrainingtopsham

July 31
Cony School
60 Pierce Drive
Augusta, ME 04330
http://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm?name=doeneosynergytrainingaugusta

August 1
MANUAL UPLOAD Schools only please. NEO not presented
Cony School
60 Pierce Drive
Augusta, ME 04330
http://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm?name=doeneosynergytrainingaugustamanualentry

August 2
Portland Arts & Technology High School
196 Allen Avenue
Portland, ME 04103
http://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm?name=doeneosynergytrainingportland

If you have any questions please contact Maine’s Data Systems Helpdesk Manager Shannon Bartash at (207) 624-6799.