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

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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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.

Maine Department of Education to hold a Public Information Session in Biddeford on February 6th concerning Regional School Construction

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 next scheduled session will be held at University of New England in Biddeford on February 6th from 6:00 pm to 8 pm.

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 website.

An additional evening information session will be held February 27th at the Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor.

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

Maine Department of Education to hold a Public Information Session in Presque Isle on February 1st concerning Regional School Construction

REVISED 1/30/16: A correction in the date of the Biddeford session has been made.

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 1st at the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Campus Center, 181 Main Street, Presque Isle.

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 website.

Additional evening information sessions will be held across Maine, including February 6th at the University of New England in Biddeford and February 27th at the Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor.

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

Approval of FY 2017 School Revolving Renovation Fund applications

Maine DOE has awarded $12.2 million in School Revolving Renovation Fund (SRRF) loans to 21 school districts. The loans will be used to complete 40 health, safety and compliance projects at 28 schools including structural roof repairs, indoor air quality improvements, ADA upgrades, and hazardous material removal. A portion of each loan is considered a grant and is forgiven while the remaining balance of the loan is paid back at a zero percent interest rate.

The complete list of approved projects can be viewed at http://www.maine.gov/doe/facilities/renovation/index.html.

For additional information about the SRRF program please contact Ann Pinnette at 624-6885 or ann.pinnette@maine.gov.

Department releases application for innovative, regional school construction pilot

Department releases application for innovative, regional school construction pilot

AUGUSTA – Acting Commissioner Robert G. Hasson today announced that the Maine Department of Education, in concert with the State Board of Education, has released an application for innovative, regional school construction and is encouraging school districts to work together to apply for the 2017-2018 rating cycle. The “Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 School Construction 2017-2018 Rating Cycle Application” is now available on the Department website.

The Department hopes to identify a pilot project that results in the construction of a new, regional high school that integrates career and technical education (CTE), collaboration with Maine’s higher education institutions, and expands programming and services to students throughout the region.

“This is an exciting step forward to create new opportunities for Maine students,” said Dr. Hasson. “We hope that communities around the state have heard the clarion call that the Department of Education will stand behind voluntary efforts to collaborate and deliver education in new, innovative ways.”

The application for school administrative units and their partner organizations consists of two parts. Part 1, in which school administrative units must identify partner organizations and their envisioned partnership, will be due to the Department on May 1, 2017.

“The application process is intended to be straightforward and to follow existing statute and rules,” said Scott Brown, Director of School Construction Programs. “This new pathway for regional collaboration provides new opportunities for collaboration while following best practices from the State’s traditional construction programs.”

Following the scoring of Part 1, the Department will determine whether there are applicants that qualify to move forward to Part 2. The Part 2 application is due 6 months after receipt of formal written authorization to proceed from Part 1.

“We have designed a process and a timeline that is equally aggressive and measured,” said Dr. Hasson.  “Based on the number of grassroots efforts around the state looking for support for a project of this kind, we are hopeful that there will be several strong proposals resulting in a pilot project that leads the way for future efforts.”

The Department will hold public information sessions around the state where members of the public and interested parties (including superintendents, school leaders and school board members) may ask questions. Those questions and answers will be posted on the Department’s website in an effort to provide all schools with the same information.

The information sessions will take place in the evening, as follows:

  • #1: Wednesday, February 1 at the University of Maine at Presque Isle
    • Location: Campus Center, 181 Main Street, Presque Isle, ME
    • Time: 6pm – 8pm
  • # 2: Monday, February 6 at the University of New England in Biddeford
    • Location: Harold Alfond Forum,  11 Hills Beach Road, Biddeford, ME
    • Time: 6pm – 8pm
  • #3: Monday, February 27 Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor
    • Location: Rangeley Hall,  Room 107,  354 Hogan Road, Bangor, ME
    • Time: 6pm – 8pm
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Additional guidance is provided, below:
2017 Application Cycle to Identify an
Integrated, Consolidated 9 – 16 Educational Facility Pilot Project
Under the provisions of 20-A MRS §15905 and Chapter 61 State Board of Education Rules for Major Capital School Construction Projects Section 15 the Commissioner and the State Board have initiated an application process which will identify an Integrated, Consolidated 9 – 16 Educational Facility pilot project.  The intent of Section 15 is to create a new regional high school integrated with a career and technical school, the University of Maine System, and the Maine Community College System and that supports industry training programs leading to recognized licensure and certification.  The preferred pilot project will combine three or more high schools (additional grades would be considered) and will create a new governing school board.  Schools units are encouraged to work with neighboring school districts on this new process.The Integrated Consolidated 9 – 16 Educational Facility application consists of two parts.  Part 1 includes an initial letter of intent, responses to four prompts, and evidence of interest from potential partners.  Upon receipt, review, and rating of all Part 1 applications the Commissioner will establish a points threshold to determine those applicants approved to proceed to Part 2.  Only those applicants who receive formal written authorization will proceed to Part 2.  The Department may provide support to assist in completion of Part 2 of the application.

The Part 2 application requires an overview of the proposed model, responses to a number of prompts, 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.  Upon receipt, review and rating of all Part 2 applications, Part 1 scores will be combined with Part 2 scores for a final total.  Using the final total scores, the Facilities Team will develop a priority list for the Commissioner to recommend 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, expansion or building a new facility will be made during this planning phase.

The Part 1 application is due on May 1, 2017 and the Part 2 application is due 6 months after receipt of formal written authorization to proceed from Part 1.  Both applications can be downloaded from http://www.maine.gov/doe/facilities/construction/Part 1 and 2 9 – 16 Application 1.19.17.docx.

Information about this project can be found at http://www.maine.gov/doe/facilities/construction/index.html.   Integrated, consolidated school construction regional meetings regarding this application have been set up and times and locations can be found online.  All questions should be asked at one of the upcoming regional meetings. Those questions and answers will be posted online in an effort to provide all schools with the same information.

School Administrative Units seeking funding for major school construction, renovation, and consolidation projects within their school unit should use the Major Capital School Construction Program to address those needs. That application is available at http://www.maine.gov/doe/facilities/documents/application2017-18.docx.  Those applications are due on April 14, 2017.

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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.

Turfgrass management workshop

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry would like to remind facilities managers and integrated pest management (IPM) coordinators of the upcoming turfgrass management workshop on July 26. It will take place at Messalonskee High School in Oakland and is free, including lunch. Registration is required.
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