Date set for presentation of Major Capital Improvement Program priority list

The scoring process for the Major Capital Improvement Program is close to completion for the 75 schools visited during the Fall of 2017.  A Proposed Priority List will be presented to the State Board of Education at its June 13, 2018 meeting. The acceptance of that list will initiate a 30 day appeal period.

Once the State Board has taken action after the scheduled meeting date, the Major Capital Improvement Program priority list will be posted on the Department’s website at: http://www.maine.gov/doe/facilities/construction/index.html

For further information, contact Maine DOE Director of School Construction Scott Brown at (207) 624-6883.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Resources to help schools keep students and school staff safe

Maine schools have long taken security seriously, working with local fire, police, and County Emergency Management Agencies to update emergency operations plans and exercise those plans at the local level.

Maine has worked at the State and local levels to strengthen the safety and security of its schools. Efforts have included free day-long security workshops in partnership with the Maine Principals’ Association and Maine School Management Association in addition to extensive tools to inform local planning, training, and preparation.

A 2014 Legislative report on the preparedness and facility security of Maine schools created by national and local experts praised the positive climates in Maine schools.

However, in light of recent high profile national incidents, the Department is reminding districts of resources available to support schools in their ongoing efforts to keep students and school staff safe.

Available on the Maine Department of Education website are, a free school security guide created for Maine DOE by Safe Havens International entitled Twenty Simple Strategies to Safer and More Effective Schools and a similar resource specific to building safety entitled Seven Important Building Design Features to Enhance School Safety and Security.  These guides are evidence-based strategies.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has available a cyber security awareness campaign called Stop.Think.Connect. which focuses on raising awareness about how to be safer and more secure online.

After a horrific incident like what happened recently in Florida, people want to take action. The safest response is to slow down, have local conversations about security (schools, fire, police, and county emergency management agencies), and take account of what is in place first before taking action.

For more resources, including training and emergency operations planning, from Maine DOE and its emergency planning partners, visit: http://www.maine.gov/doe/security/ or contact Pat Hinckley at 624-6886 or by email at pat.hinckley@maine.gov .

Governor LePage Recognizes School District Collaboration To Benefit Students

Released on Wednesday, February 14, 2018

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage has issued the following statement recognizing today’s State Board of Education vote to accept the scoring for the finalists for the Integrated, Consolidated 9–16 Educational Facility Pilot Project.

“Communities across Maine are demonstrating that when the state provides them with support and incentives, they will work together to create more opportunities for students in an efficient and effective way,” said Governor LePage. “I commend the local superintendents and school boards for putting the needs of their students first.”

The Governor added, “Enabling Maine students to benefit from regional and collaborative approaches to education is the right thing to do. When these projects are up and running, they will serve as a shining example of what is possible when our communities work together to benefit students.”

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) has implemented the Integrated, Consolidated 9–16 Educational Facility Pilot Project as part of the EMBRACE initiative, providing support and incentives to communities that work together to increase opportunities for students through regional partnerships that enable efficiency and take advantage of scale that the communities could not achieve on their own.

Most recently, Maine DOE announced grant awards of $4.6 million to school districts to pursue more than $10 million in savings through regional projects.

 

 

 

 

 

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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