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.

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.

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.

DC&R Financial and Compliance Forms incorrectly shown as overdue

The Data Collection and Reporting (DC&R) System went live earlier this year as a replacement for the Missing Reports system the Department previously used to inform school systems, and the public, when reports are coming due, or had not been received. During the transition to DC&R, historical information for the financial reports was used to determine if reports were received. These reports include actual expenditures, actual revenue, actual balance sheet, budget expenditure, budget revenue, EF-S-07, EF-S-214, and audits. Unfortunately, as Missing Reports did not include some of the reports, reports that are currently showing as not received, have in fact been received by the Department.

The School Finance and Compliance Team is working to update DC&R to correctly display which reports have not been received. All current forms are being checked in manually until an automated process is established. Please contact Maine DOE School Finance and Compliance Coordinator Tyler Backus at tyler.backus@maine.gov with any questions.

 

Important Title VI Small Rural Schools Achievement (SRSA) program update

The US Department of Education will be sponsoring a series of webinars now through June 28 to assist eligible Title VI SRSA districts with the online application process. The webinars will provide a walk-through designed to take applicants from the start to the finish. An information sheet, including dates, times and links for registration can be found here. Register early as space is limited to 350 seats for each webinar session. For questions, please contact Maine DOE’s Title VI Director Daniel Weeks at Daniel.r.weeks@maine.gov or 624-6749.

 

U.S. Department of Education New Title V Application Process and Funding

This message is for school administrative units that have received funding under the following grants under Rural Education Assistance Programs (REAP) including the Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) or Rural and Low Income Schools (RLIS). If your district has not received funds from these programs in the past, you may disregard this notice.

On April 3, the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to local education agencies regarding the Rural Education Assistance Program (REAP) administered under Title VI of the Elementary Secondary Education Act. The U.S. Department of Education Letter outlines new provisions resulting from the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December, 2015 and contains information regarding 2017 eligibility.  Please note the following important notes regarding SRSA grants.

  • Districts eligible for SRSA Funds must submit an application directly to www.grants.gov
  • The application window opens early May and will remain open for 60 days.
  • If no application is received and the district is NOT dually eligible for RLIS then no Title VI funds will be awarded to the district
    • If a district is dually eligible and no application is received then they will be considered for the RLIS grant automatically

For questions regarding the Rural Education Assistance Program and available grants, contact Daniel Weeks at Daniel.r.weeks@maine.gov or 207-624-6749.

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.

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.

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.