The Maine Department of Education is proposing to repeal and replace Chapter 81: Uniform School Bus Standards for Pupil Transportation in Maine in order to modernize the rule.
The proposal involves four major changes:
- Change the format of the rule to separate the rule into shorter and cleaner regulations.
- Remove forms from the rule making it easier to adapt to national changes and align with the federal medical examination regulations.
- Update the bus specifications to meet current bus technology, standards, and specifications.
- Clarify safety, training, and program language to make the rule easier to interpret.
Proposed language of rule Chapters 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, and 86 can be found on the Department’s website. Written comments should be mailed to: Maine Department of Education, Attn: Pat Hinckley, 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0023, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The comment deadline is Friday, Jun. 16, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.
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 email@example.com.
For assistance with access to NEO data system, contact the Maine DOE helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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) has been extended to March 17, 2016 in order to accommodate design updates. The new updated report will open February 16, 2017.
Between February 16, 2017 and March 17, 2017 all districts must complete the report. Submit your data early. Districts that reported EFT-24 data before February 16, 2017 must log into the NEO data system to answer new questions and review their data.
For policy questions regarding the EFT-24, contact the Department’s Transportation and Facilities Administrator Pat Hinckley at email@example.com.
For assistance with access to the NEO data system, contact the Maine DOE helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new version of the NEO Transportation application will launch Friday, Oct. 28. This release includes new features intended to make bus data management easier, a clean-up of features rolled out in the initial release, and an edit of features available to districts.
A ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ (FAQs) link has been added to the home page of the transportation application. The FAQs provide instructions to guide people through correct steps and buttons to complete a function. These FAQ instructions also describe some of the codes and statuses used in the new application.
The new transportation features include:
- Only one way to add a vehicle into inventory (EFT-20 school bus purchase report)
- In the past a purchase report could get down the wrong path and be marked in service before it was realized that the purchase information needed to be added. This potential error and submittal problem has been eliminated.
- Vehicle information all on one screen (EFT-20 school bus purchase report)
- One screen will contain the mileage and equipment data previously entered by the transportation manager and the purchasing information previously entered by the finance manager. This makes data entry easier.
- Additional vehicle and purchase statuses (EFT-17 school bus replacement request and vehicle inventory)
- Several new statuses have been included to help indicate the exact status of a vehicle in inventory, a bus purchase request, or both. District users can now see the status of each bus request as it moves through the School Bus Purchase Program process and see the status of a bus as it moves to disposal, transfer, or both. This makes the process easier for districts to implement.
- Data entry edits
- Several new edit buttons have been added to NEO Transportation screens. Now districts will be able to correct their data entry errors and no longer need to request edits from Maine DOE.
- Reports and downloads
- Many district screens now have the ability to download and/or print data on the screen and new state reports can be found on the reports tab. Data downloads and reports provide information for districts to plan budgets and inform school boards about transportation.
- Improved navigation
- The old version of the application seemed to experience navigation blocks. This has been resolved making it easier for district users to complete and edit entries.
- Automated e-mail notifications
- The application will now send out e-mails when certain events occur, e.g.: the superintendent will receive an email when a bus request is approved, the superintendent will receive an e-mail to confirm intent of the district to purchase a bus after the purchase has been approved by Maine DOE, the district finance manager will receive e-mails if EFT-20 school bus purchase reports are not entered on time during the purchase fiscal year, and Maine DOE will receive an e-mail when an emergency bus request is placed.
- Automated removal of subsidy allocation if purchases are not completed
- Bus purchases must be completed within the fiscal year for which the purchase was approved so that vehicle subsidy allocation can begin the fiscal year after a new bus is purchased. If an approved bus purchase is not completed by submitting timely reports, the subsidy allocation will automatically be deleted. This process will begin in fiscal year 2018.
Before you begin using the new version of NEO Transportation it is important that you consult the FAQ section in the transportation section on the NEO dashboard. Instructions are included with answers to the FAQs.
If you have questions about transportation policy, please contact Maine DOE’s Transportation and Facilities Administrator, Pat Hinckley, at email@example.com.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers grants up to $25,000 per vehicle to help pay for a new school bus and up to $6,000 per vehicle to pay for vehicle retrofits. Regional, state, or tribal agencies including school districts and municipalities or private entities that operate school buses under a contract with these organizations are eligible for these grants.
Grant details are available at this website: https://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/clean-diesel-rebates .
The Maine Department of Education is accepting applications for new school buses through the annual School Bus Purchase Program. The application process opens Nov. 1 and closes Nov. 25.
A school bus driver’s career is about safely delivering the world’s most precious cargo – our students. Making a positive difference in the life of a child is what motivates school bus drivers.
The due date for the year-end EFT-24 Vehicle Mileage and Operations Report has been extended to December 31, 2016. MRSA 20-A section 6801-A provides statutory authority to withhold subsidy until reports are received.
NEO Transportation data system upgrades are scheduled to launch mid-October and early-December. The upgrades are designed to make the system easier to use and provide transportation reports. Districts that have not been able to enter new vehicle inventory data, EFT-24 report data, or both should enter vehicle inventory and EFT-24 data as soon as possible to avoid the end of year rush. Districts that have successfully entered new vehicle inventory data and completed year-end FY16 data in the EFT-24 report do not need to do anything.
For further information about transportation reports and instructions to enter data visit the Maine DOE Reporting Calendar at http://www.maine.gov/doe/reporting/calendar.shtml. Information about school transportation is located on the Maine DOE School Transportation website at http://maine.gov/doe/transportation/.
For policy questions regarding school transportation, contact the Maine DOE’s Transportation and Facilities Administrator Pat Hinckley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For assistance with access to the NEO data system, contact the Maine DOE helpdesk email@example.com.
National School Bus Safety Week, scheduled October 17-21 this year, is a public education program that promotes school bus safety.
The due date for the year-end Transportation Safety and Training Annual Data Report (EFT-21) has been extended to December 31, 2016. The report is in the process of being transferred from the MEDMS data system to the NEO data system.