Administrative Letter: 15
Policy Code: KLL
TO: Private School Administrators
FROM: Robert G. Hasson, Jr., Ed. D. Commissioner
DATE: July 12, 2018
SUBJECT: 2018-2019 Private School Approval, NEO Maine Schools, and Staff Now Open
In accordance with 20-A M.R.S. Chapter 117, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) requires private schools seeking approval status to be approved annually.
Private schools seeking approval status must enter required organization and staff information into the NEO information system and submit their annual school approval report. Related documentation should be submitted to Maine DOE’s School Enrollment/Approval Specialist, either electronically or by mail. The NEO requirements need not be completed prior to the submission of the annual report; however, school approval will not be issued until the NEO information is complete and verified.
Private School and NEO
Maine Schools NEO Module
The Maine Schools module in the Maine DOE’s NEO information system is now open for the 2018-2019 school year. The NEO Maine Schools form is required by all public and private schools to inform the Maine Department of Education of school and district contact information, changes in grade spans, and other school-related information. As a preliminary step, in order for an organization to be updated in Maine Schools, the superintendent or chief administrator of the school must first be entered into the NEO Staff Module. Access to NEO staff can be obtained by submitting a NEO Access Request Form (Excel) form to the MDOE Data Helpdesk.
Filling out the Maine Schools Module: All fields with the exception of Administrative Office Fax are required. PO Boxes will not be accepted in the “Physical Address” box. Mailing address is needed only if different from Physical address. The Cost Center information references the three-digit code that the business office uses in the public financial system to assign building level costs (may require two codes). Since this is a required field but currently not used for private schools, a value of “001,” “002,” etc. should be entered there to indicate this is an excluded field.
At the bottom, check the box to confirm that all information has been reviewed before signing and submitting the form.
Log in to the NEO information system. Click on Maine Schools. If you do not see this option on your menu, and are a superintendent (for private schools, this is the head of school), technical coordinator, or administrative assistant, please contact the MEDMS Helpdesk at MEDMS.Helpdesk@maine.gov or 207-624-6896.
Staff NEO Module
For security and privacy purposes, all staff information must be entered in the NEO Staff module. The Maine DOE school approval process will include a clearance check for every school employee, as well as appropriate certification checks where applicable.
Guidance for Completing the Annual School Approval Report and Documentation
2018-2019 Approval Reports and requirement checklists are linked below, and also available from the updated Private School Approval web page. If unsure of which form is appropriate for your needs, please contact Pamela Ford-Taylor, School Enrollment/Approval Specialist.
- Organization of annual report rearranged to make it clearer for schools meeting differing requirements according to accreditation and funding status.
- Non-profit status.
- Grade span may not include Pre-K. The Department does not “approve” private Pre-K schools. These schools are licensed by Maine DHHS.
- Records maintenance and release policy
- Schools receiving public funds must report the data that the Department requests, including attendance data for private schools enrolling 60% or greater publicly-funded students, per M.R.S. 20-A Section 2952.
- Out of state private schools were “grandfathered” on previous approvals through 2017-18. For 2018-2019 these schools are no longer eligible to accept public funds unless they undergo the private school basic school approval process, including Maine fingerprint/background check, curriculum alignment with the Maine Learning Results, and movement toward proficiency-based diplomas.
- Approval year will mirror the public school approval year – July 1 through June 30.
Please contact Pamela Ford-Taylor, Maine DOE School Enrollment Specialist at 207-624-6617 or Pamela.Ford-Taylor@maine.gov with questions or comments about the school approval.