Robert G. Hasson, Jr. Confirmed as Maine Commissioner of Education

During a 10:00 AM vote of the Maine State Senate on Thursday, March 30th, Robert G. Hasson, Jr., Ed.D. was confirmed as Maine Commissioner of Education. The vote was the final step in Hasson’s confirmation following his nomination by Governor Paul R. LePage, an interview by the State Board of Education, and a vote of the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs.

A long-time resident of South Portland, Dr. Hasson has spent the majority of his career working in education. He is a former principal, special ed. director and elementary school teacher, in addition to his 20 plus years of experience as a superintendent at MSAD 51, Cumberland/N. Yarmouth.

In a letter to Department staff shortly after confirmation, he wrote, “I intend to use my time as Commissioner to improve the experience of students, bridge the gap between teachers and administration, and provide support in as many ways possible to schools and districts throughout the state.”

Hasson has been Acting Commissioner for the Department since November of 2016 following his role as Director of Certification within the Department. Prior to that, he served in leadership roles at both the Maine School Management Association and the Maine School Superintendents Association.

In presenting Dr. Hasson for confirmation before the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee, Senior Policy Advisor to Governor LePage, Aaron Chadbourne said, “Bob Hasson is fervent about acting in the best interest of Maine students, which is the charge that Governor LePage believes is appropriate for all of us engaged in public education. Governor LePage has given Bob license not only to think outside the box but to disregard the box entirely in pursuit of supporting Maine students and teachers, serving their best interests.”

During the hearing, shortly before the committee voted to confirm Hasson in a 12-0 vote he said, “I am truly honored and humbled to have been given this opportunity.”

Media Advisory: 2nd Annual Farm to School Cook-Off

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:  Rachel Paling (207) 624-6747 or rachel.paling@maine.edu

MEDIA ADVISORY

What:  2017 Maine Farm to School Cook-Off

Who: School food service staff creating breakfast and lunch meal.

Judges for the regional cook-offs include a Career and Technical Education culinary arts student, a school nutrition director and a professional chef.

Where/When: 

  • Monday, March 27 – Regional cook-off
    Westbrook Regional Vocational Center, Westbrook
    1:00pm start time (cooking begins at 1:30pm)
    Teams are representing Falmouth, Yarmouth and RSU 14
  • Friday, March 31 – Regional cook-off
    Capital Area Technical Center, Augusta
    2:00pm start time (cooking begins at 2:30pm)
    Teams are representing Lewiston, RSU 52 and RSU 54
  • Wednesday, April 26th – Final cook-off
    Freeport High School
    1:00pm start time (cooking begins at 1:30pm)

The Westbrook and Augusta CTE centers were chosen as cook-off sites for their well-equipped kitchens and individual cooking and presentation areas.

How:  Each volunteer team will 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.

RSVP: Members of the media are welcome to attend the competition but are asked to notify Maine DOE Director of Communications, Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov or call 624-6747 ahead of time.

These competitions are NOT open to the public.

 

Media Advisory: Maine DOE welcomes new Director of Communications

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:  Debra Plowman, DOE, 624-6620

(Augusta)  Acting Commissioner of the Department of Education Robert Hasson has announced that Rachel Paling joined the team in the Department of Education as the Director of Communications on Tuesday, February 21, 2017. Rachel previously worked as the Communications Manager at the University of Maine, Augusta where she held that position for 5 years.

“Rachel’s experience in communications, messaging, web management, and graphics and design makes her a great addition to our team and we look forward to her contributions to our mission at the Department.”

Rachel lives in New Sharon with her husband and two children. We are so pleased to welcome her.  You can reach Rachel at Rachel.Paling@maine.gov or by calling 624-6747.

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: 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.

 

Take the ‘Read to ME Challenge’

Augusta – Maine’s First Lady launched the Read to ME Challenge today at the Blaine House. Reflecting on how she and her husband, Governor Paul LePage, raised their children by reading to them and exploring the world through reading, Mrs. LePage shared, “I knew that when a child learns to read, there is nothing they can’t learn, imagine, or accomplish in life.”

First Lady Ann LePage reads to military children as she kicks off Maine's Read To Me Challenge
First Lady Ann LePage reads to children of military families as she kicks off Maine’s Read To Me Challenge

Reading to children of military families, the First Lady shared two books, Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs and Baxter in the Blaine House, with her captive audience. Once the children studied the brilliant illustrations of the Blaine House, they were offered the chance to explore and see some of the rooms depicted in the story book. First Lady LePage challenged Brigadier General Douglas Farnum of the Maine National Guard.

Baxter in the Blaine House
Baxter in the Blaine House

The Maine DOE’s Read to ME Challenge runs through March 2, Read Across America Day. Maine DOE Literacy Specialist Lee Anne Larsen wants the momentum to last all month long. “Our goal is to promote the critical importance of reading to and with children from birth through their childhoods. When children are read to regularly, their vocabulary grows, they build knowledge of the world, they stimulate their imaginations, and they discover how words communicate ideas.”

The challenge is simple. Read with a child for at least 15 minutes, capture a photo or video, post it on social media with the hash tags #ReadtoME or #ReadaloudME, and nominate others to do the same. Creative ways of completing the challenge are encouraged – for example, read to a child using FaceTime or Skype. If preferred, you can complete the challenge by listening to audiobooks with a child.

“The enthusiasm has been building since before the launch with schools, libraries and other organizations planning innovative ways of promoting the challenge. All Mainers are encouraged to get involved,” said Larsen.

You can reach Lee Anne Larsen at leeann.larsen@maine.gov to learn more about Maine DOE’s Read to ME Challenge. Go ahead, take the challenge!

Priority Notice: EFT-24 Transportation Vehicle Mileage and Operations Annual Data Report due date extension

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 pat.hinckley@maine.gov.

For assistance with access to the NEO data system, contact the Maine DOE helpdesk at medms.helpdesk@maine.gov.