Category Archives: Operations

PRIORITY NOTICE: MaineCare Seed payment adjustments to be made, review reports by April 12, 2017

The 2016-17 subsidy checks for General Purpose Aid for local schools will reflect adjustments in April 2017 for MaineCare Seed payments paid by the Maine DOE on behalf of school administrative units (SAUs) for the following:

  • 2017 Quarter 2 MaineCare payment adjustments

Detailed student reports for Quarter 2 are now available in Infinite Campus (State Edition). Instructions for accessing MaineCare Seed Payment Reports in Infinite Campus are available here.

In April, the 2016-17 State subsidy printouts (ED279s) will be updated reflecting these adjustments and 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 2 and report any issues on these reports no later than April 12, 2017. 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

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.

Maine DOE kicks off 2nd Annual Farm to School Cook-off

The Maine Department of Education is holding its 2nd annual Maine Farm to School Cook-off this month. The cook-off showcases the skills of local school food service staff, while promoting locally grown products in school meals.

School food service teams representing Falmouth, Yarmouth, RSU 14 – Windham/Raymond, Lewiston, RSU 52 – Turner, and RSU 54 – Skowhegan, will be participating in the event this year.

Last year’s participants were from Lewiston Public Schools, RSU 38 – Maranacook, Portland Public Schools, and RSU 61 – Lakes Region Schools, with the winning team from Five Town CSD/MSAD 28 & RSU 13 –Rockport, Camden, Rockland and surrounding towns.

For the competition, each team must prepare a breakfast and lunch meal within a specific time frame using at least two ingredients that are grown, raised, caught, or manufactured in the State of Maine and meet National School Breakfast and Lunch Program requirements as well as one USDA food. As an added twist Maine wild blueberries and Maine potatoes will be used as “challenge” ingredients in the competition. All recipes will later be shared in a Maine farm to school cook-off recipe book.

This year, the regional cook-offs will be held on the March 27 at the Westbrook Regional Vocational Center and on March 31 at the Capital Area Technical Center in Augusta.

The final cook-off on April 26th will be held at the Freeport High School’s newly renovated kitchen and dining area.

Westbrook and Augusta CTE centers are returning hosts for the cook-off, while Freeport High School joins in for the first time. The locations were chosen as cook-off sites for their well-equipped kitchens and cooking and presentation areas.

A panel of judges for the two regional cook-offs will consist of a CTE culinary arts student, school nutrition director, and professional chef. The dishes will be scored based on presentation, taste, creativity, and feasibility to be used in a school breakfast or lunch program. Other criteria will include food safety and time management.

Judges for the final event will include a Freeport High School student, a school nutrition director and a professional chef. The winning team will be awarded a plaque and have the opportunity to be spokespeople for the second annual cook off in 2018.

The cook-off is part of the State’s child nutrition projects and follows legislation to support healthy meals in schools. For more information on Maine’s Local Foods to Local Schools program, visit www.maine.gov/doe/nutrition/programs/localfoods/.

Members of the media are welcome to attend any the events. We ask that you confirm you are coming ahead of time by contacting Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov or call 624-6747.

New School Absenteeism Reporting Form

When a potential outbreak, including those involving exposure to a communicable disease, toxic agent, environmental hazard, or a potential epidemic is identified, immediate notification to the Maine CDC should be made.  One of the ways these outbreaks can be identified is through elevated school absenteeism.  Schools have long partnered with the Maine Center for Disease Control (MeCDC) to report elevated absentee rates (>15%).  The Department of Education and MeCDC have collaborated to design this application in NEO to collect this information more efficiently. School nurses have be given access to the reporting tool.  If your school unit decides that it would be appropriate for another person to submit this report, you will need to fill out a NEO access request form located on the DOE Data Helpdesk page.  http://www.maine.gov/doe/data/helpdesk.html

 

EPS High-Cost Out-of-District Report (EF-S-214) open for reporting on March 13

The EF-S-214 will be open to Maine public schools on March 13. The report must be approved by the School Finance Team by April 15 to be used in the calculation for an adjustment.  School districts should sign into the report as early as possible, as some aspects of the report have changed.  Starting this year, the business manager will have to certify that the figures reported by the Special Education office are consistent with the data in the school district financial system.

This report is required to be submitted by all publically funded school districts.  School districts need to project the costs for the full fiscal year.  Only costs for tuition and board should be included in the report.  For Fiscal Year 2017 only students that have a total cost above $31,548 should be included on the report.  Those districts that have no students who meet that threshold are still required to submit a report.

We have made some changes for this year:

  • Students can have multiple lines if they have had more than one placement during the year
  • School districts will now have the option to see a summary sheet that will provide them the total adjustment if all costs are approved
  • An internal messaging system has been added if there are any questions
  • The form will auto-populate the school district contact based on information in the staff module and the person filling out the form based on the login information
  • The form will need to be certified by the business manager

The report can be located by logging into NEO at https://neo.maine.gov/DOE/NEO/Accounts/Account/Login

Questions about the report should be direct to Stephanie Clark at 624-6807.

Maine DOE Child Nutrition Announces Change to the USDA Food Program Ordering

Maine DOE Child Nutrition announces the annual order opening date for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Program for School Administrative Units (SAU) is March 7, 2017. The SAU must order their USDA food products beginning on March 7, 2017 to March 20, 2017.  The deadline date has no flexibility.  This is the first year the annual order has been moved to March.  This federally required change allows the SAU to order the items they want and the amount they want, up to their entitlement level.

Once the SAU orders, Maine DOE Child Nutrition will place the order with USDA based on local orders. USDA will ship product to Maine’s contracted warehouse for distribution to the local SAU.  It is imperative the SAU order their product for next school year by the deadline date.  This will be the only time period the SAU can order product for the annual order.  There will be opportunities to pick up some limited items monthly, but 95% of the product will be ordered for the specific SAU.  The new March annual order has been promoted to SAU food service program staff at meetings, weekly updates and training over the last year.  This is a very tight schedule for ordering on the local and state level.  Maine must have all orders into USDA in March.  Different products have different USDA deadline dates, but all are in March.  Products are ordered in the Maine DOE NEO system as in prior years, but in March not August.  The deadline date to order is close of business on March 20, 2017.

Additionally, there will be changes to the USDA fresh product offering for School Year 2018.

For more information, contact Child Nutrition Director Walter Beesley at walter.beesley@maine.gov or call 624-6875 or Terri Fitzgerald at terri.fitzgerald@maine.gov or call 624-6882.

Media Advisory: (Updated) Maine Department of Education to Hold a Public Information Session in Bangor on February 27th concerning Regional School Construction

AUGUSTA –

Acting Commissioner Robert G. Hasson will lead a public information session, accompanied by representatives from the Maine Department of Education and the Senior Education Policy Advisor to Governor LePage. The public session will be held from 6:00PM to 8:00PM on February 27th at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor, in Rangeley Hall, room 107.

The information session will focus on providing answers to public questions concerning the recently announced 2017-2018 rating cycle for an innovative, regional school construction pilot. The “Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 School Construction 2017-2018 Rating Cycle Application” is now available on the Department of Education website.

An additional information session will be held on March 31st from 10:00AM to 12:00PM in Augusta at the Burton M. Cross State Office Building in room 103.

All questions and answers discussed at the session will be posted on the Department’s website.

FAQ on proficiency diplomas and students with disabilities

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) has developed responses to various questions from the field about what IEP teams are permitted to do in developing IEPs in Maine’s proficiency based diploma system. The Q&A is placed under the topic heading “Policies, Procedures & Effective Implementation”. The link to the Q&A document is here: http://www.maine.gov/doe/specialed/support/policies/index.html

The Special Services webpage also includes a new webinar addressing students with reading difficulties and dyslexia. The webinar can be accessed here: http://maine.gov/doe/dyslexia/training/index.html

Guidelines for Local Entitlement Budget Modifications involving 10 percent or more of the total allocation may be found at http://www.maine.gov/doe/specialed/support/fiscal/documents/LEBudgetModificationFinal.pdf

Please direct any questions to the Maine DOE’s Director of Special Services Jan Breton at janice.breton@maine.gov.

Preliminary FY 2018 State subsidy printouts available

The Department is pleased to announce that the FY 2018 (2017-18 school year) preliminary State subsidy printouts, known as ED 279s, are now available here on our website:

http://www.maine.gov/doe/eps/

These preliminary amounts are based on Governor LePage’s proposed biennial budget. Governor LePage’s FY18 budget proposal includes $991.3 million for general purpose aid for Maine schools and $1,002.4 billion for FY19. The Governor’s budget does propose changes to the current funding law, which include repealing the adjustment for Title I revenues when calculating the per pupil rate, increasing the targeted funds weight for K-2 from 10% to 15%, with a proposal to add grade 3 in FY 2019, and increasing the adjustment for those school units receiving a minimum special education adjustment to 33%.

The subsidy amounts for FY 2018 (2017-18) reflected on these printouts are only preliminary and do not represent final action of the 128th Maine Legislature and should therefore only be used as “initial” guidance for your budget preparations. Some calculations included in these amounts are dependent upon enactment of statutory changes. Please review your ED 279 printouts in order to familiarize yourself with the full scope of changes proposed in the Governor’s budget.

The Department hopes this release of the preliminary ED 279s is informative to your local budgeting preparations. If you have any questions as you review these printouts, please contact our School Finance Team via email:  tyler.backus@maine.gov or paula.b.gravelle@maine.gov or ida.batista@maine.gov or at 624-6790.

PRIORITY NOTICE: MaineCare Seed payment adjustments to be made, report review by March 13, 2017

The 2016-17 subsidy checks for General Purpose Aid for local schools will reflect adjustments in March 2017 for MaineCare Seed payments paid by the Maine DOE on behalf of school administrative units (SAUs) for the following:

  • 2017 Quarter 1 MaineCare payment adjustments

Detailed student reports for Quarter 1 are now available in Infinite Campus (State Edition). Instructions for accessing MaineCare Seed Payment Reports in Infinite Campus are available here.

In March, the 2016-17 State subsidy printouts (ED279s) will be updated reflecting these adjustments and 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 1 and report any issues on these reports no later than March 10, 2017. 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

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.

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.