Filing of Chapter 101: Maine Unified Special Education Regulation Emergency Rulemaking

The Maine Department of Education has identified a barrier to its obligation pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Maine Unified Special Education Regulation (MUSER) to ensure the provision of a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) to all eligible students, including the availability of a continuum of educational placements. The current funding structure outlined in Section XVIII.3.C(2) of MUSER for private schools that serve exclusively students with disabilities (referred to throughout as “special purpose private schools”) is causing those schools to limit or cease operations, leaving some of Maine’s most significantly impacted children without the educational placements they are entitled to by law. Further breakdown of this critical component of the continuum of educational placements will leave the State unable to maintain compliance with IDEA and MUSER. 

The Department has determined that a rule change is necessary on an emergency basis in order to protect the public health, safety and general welfare by ensuring that there is a continuum of placements available for all students with individualized education programs (IEPs) in accordance with federal and state law as follows: 

  • Change #1: Section XVIII.3.C(2) is amended to change the required number of instructional days to the “sum of the days on which instruction was provided in accordance with the school’s calendarrather than the actual days of student attendance for the year.  Rationale:  The current funding formula penalizes the private school when a student is unable to attend, even if the lack of attendance is due to a disability-related reason, despite the obligation of the private school to have staff and supports available for the student every day of the school year. 
  • Change #2: adds a section (2A) to allow the Department to “recalculate the number of student days for the remainder of the fiscal year 2023 and the entirety of fiscal year 2024 using the number of days on which instruction was provided in accordance with the school’s fiscal year 2022 calendar and recalculate each school’s allowable expenditures and 2023 tuition rate using the revised number of student days.  The Department shall notify each special purpose private school of its revised tuition rate, which shall be effective immediately and applies to the remainder of fiscal year 2023 and the entirety of fiscal year 2024.”  Rationale:  The current funding formula operates on a one-year delay – this change ensures that additional monies will flow to the impacted schools now, to prevent closures or cutbacks.    
  • Change #3: adds a section (4A) which provides that nothing in subparagraph (4) shall limit any increase in the tuition rate resulting from the change in calculating the number of student days in subparagraph (2) from the actual days of student attendance to the days on which instruction was provided in accordance with the school’s calendar.”  Rationale:  This change ensures that any increase in tuition resulting from the change in 2023 does not get reduced by the cap on the percentage of increase from year to year. 

A period of public comment opens today, March 24, 2023. Due to the need to prevent imminent harm to the students who depend on these educational placements and the emergency status of this rule change, the public comment period has been reduced to 10 days.  

Written comments may be submitted to DOE Legislative Team member Laura Cyr, State House Station #23, Augusta, Maine 04333; 207-446-8791 or until 5:00 p.m. on April 3, 2023. 

In addition, a public hearing for the proposed new rule will be suspended due to the emergency nature of this change. As an emergency filing, the proposed changes become active upon filing and are in effect for a period of one year from the filing date.  

Timeline for Rulemaking for Chapter 101 – Emergency, Major Substantive  

Comment Period Begins: March 24, 2023 

Comment Period Ends: April 3, 2023 

Anticipated Date of Adoption: April 10, 2023 

The proposed amendment to Chapter 101 can be found here:   




Maine DOE Child Nutrition Kicks off 2023 Farm-to-School Cook-off on March 27

(Pictured: Caleb Pratt & Gina Bailey from Team Son-Day- competing in last year’s Westbrook Regional Cook-off)

The Maine Department of Education, Child Nutrition team is kicking off their annual Farm to School Cook-off this month! The cook-off is a statewide culinary competition for teams of school nutrition professionals and students to promote local foods in school meals. This voluntary competition is made available to all school districts in Maine.

This year, two regional competitions will be held:

  • March 27th – Teams representing RSU 54 and RSU 21 will compete.
  • April 5th – Teams representing Lewiston Public Schools and RSU 17 will compete.

Both competitions will take place in the Child Nutrition Culinary Classroom in Augusta. The top team from each regional competition will face off at the final’s competition, also in Augusta, to determine the 2023 Farm to School Cook-off State Champion.

2022 Cook-off Champions- McMahon Tigers: Alain Lemesse & Alicia Smith
2022 Cook-off Champions- McMahon Tigers: Alain Lemesse & Alicia Smith

Each team, consisting of one student and one school nutrition employee, is tasked to prepare a breakfast and lunch meal using specific recipe guidelines and time restrictions and will present to a panel of judges. At least three local ingredients and one USDA food must be used in each meal. Local rolled oats donated by Maine Grains and local carrots donated by Emery Farm will be used as “challenge” ingredients in the competition. All recipes will later be shared in a Maine farm-to-school cookbook to be used in future school meals programs.

For questions about the Farm-to-School Cook-off, contact Maine DOE Child Nutrition Supervisor, Stephanie Stambach at For more information on Maine’s Farm and Sea to School program, visit

Exciting MLTI Student Conference Updates!

Registration is NOW Open for Virtual and in Person MLTI Conferences

We’re excited to announce that registration for the 20th annual student conference is now open! To ensure that you and your students will receive an MLTI t-shirt, please complete the registration form no later than April 4th. We are asking for one lead teacher to complete the registration for the student conference. We’ve streamlined the registration process to ease the task of registering your entire group. Click here to access the registration form.

Conference Proposals Deadline for Submission – March 28th

We’re still looking for conference proposal submissions for the MLTI student conference! If you are interested but would like to know more, all information for both the virtual and in-person student conferences can be found on our website. Click here to access the submission link.

USM Location Cancelled

We are not having an MLTI Conference at the University of Southern Maine due to limitations of parking and conference space.  Unfortunately, the campus doesn’t have space for the agenda we have planned for this exciting conference.  Our conference schedule is now: Virtual Conference on May 18th and In-person Conference on May 25th at the University of Maine in Orono.

Family Engagement Grant Opportunity Information Sessions

Through the Centers for Engaging Families across Maine (CEFAM), ParentPowered will be offering an informational session about their evidence-based family engagement messaging curriculum titled Ready4K.  In partnership with the Maine Department of Education’s (DOE) Climate, Culture, and Resilience Team, this five-year grant is slated to provide a limited number of schools the opportunity to implement Ready4K.   

ParentPowered delivers an evidence-based family engagement curriculum that is delivered directly to families via text message, serving families from birth through middle school (8th grade) with trauma-sensitive tips and activities that are leveled for the child’s age and stage of development.  

The curriculum is aligned with the Maine Learning Results and leverages the unique parent-child relationship – making sure that the skills are always oriented around parents’ strengths – to help children thrive in all areas of life- academically, socially, emotionally (and so much more!). 

There is also an additional support stream that links families with critical local resources and supports to help ensure they have housing, food assistance, healthcare care and other essentials. 

Links to the webinars can be found below. School administrative units (SAUs) only need to attend one session in order to apply for the opportunity for selection. After the webinar, Family Engagement/Cultural Responsibility Specialist, Melanie Junkins, will provide a link for the application. 

March 30, 2023 10:30am 


March 30, 2023 3pm 

Contact for information: Melanie Junkins (

Sacopee Valley High School ELO Coordinator Making a Big Impact on Students’ Career Paths

“The best part of my day is working directly with my students,” said Elizabeth Sanborn, Sacopee Valley High School’s Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) Coordinator. “It is a lot of fun helping them discover their interests and then create opportunities for them to explore careers.”

Sanborn is invigorated by the students’ excitement and commitment to their experiences with extended learning opportunities. The new initiative also helps reinvigorate schooling and reconnect the students, the school, and the community, especially following the health restrictions that felt like they separated schools and communities during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of Sanborn’s recent successes include helping a student make a connection with a local tattoo artist to learn more about the career, including how to run a successful business. Another one of her students got the opportunity to interview several registered Maine guides and is currently studying for his own test in the spring. “He attended a three-day training class back in January and sent in for his Maine guide license just last week,” said Sanborn.

Here are some more student success stories, directly from students:

“I decided to do an ELO to make connections in the law field before going to college for law next year,” explains Abigail Sanborn, a Sacopee Valley senior. “This past semester I was partnered with a local civil law firm, where I went twice a week for an hour. I got to participate in simple drafting of documents, acting as a witness for estate planning, and got to interview several clerks, judges, and lawyers. During this second part of the year I am doing day trips to the Cumberland County District Attorney’s where I’m job shadowing different prosecutors. I am also exploring other avenues of law by doing ride-alongs; I wasn’t expecting to like police work, but that is what ELO’s are for. It’s an experimental opportunity for students to determine what they like and don’t like. Mrs. Sanborn has been a huge part in helping me find these opportunities and is always willing to find you experiences that you may not think of!”

“My ELO journey has been sort of complicated, but Mrs. Sanborn has been the best at getting me where I want to be,” said Elise Hermance, an 11th grader at Sacopee Valley High School. “I started off knowing I wanted to be a dog trainer and breeder. I sat in on a few classes up in Conway, NH. I came back to Mrs. Sanborn after going around three times and told her that this wasn’t for me. I know I want to do something with animals, but I am not sure that dog training is for me. I then did a job shadow at the Sacopee Valley Veterinary Clinic with a vet tech and it was so fun. They were all so nice to me. Now I am applying for a volunteer position at the Animal Rescue League of Greater Portland. I am so excited to have this opportunity in my life. Not just the job shadowing and knowing what I want and don’t want to do but the fact that I have learned so many different skills. I know how to reach out to people that I don’t know. None of this could be possible without Mrs. Sanborn!”

“It is amazing to be able to help a student fulfill a lifelong dream that they weren’t sure how to navigate before Sacopee Valley High School had this program at our school,” said Sanborn.

Sanborn has started to make some great connections with area businesses and hopes to continue that work throughout the year. “We have a lot of industry professionals who are excited to work with our students, and it really will be a win-win situation for all involved,” she added.

Sanborn would like to extend a huge thank you to Dr. Chris Parent at Sacopee Valley Family Dentistry, Bonnie Gould of Heritage Law, Tasha Berouty at Hallow Point Tattoo, and Wendy McGary and Ashley Blanchard at Sacopee Valley Elementary School, just to name a few!