Priority Notice: Public Comment Period for Rulemaking Required in Response to P.L. 2019, Ch. 154 Now Open

10-144 CMR, Chapter 261: Immunization Requirements for School Children (DHHS) / 05-071 CMR, Chapter 126: Immunization Requirements for School Children (DOE)

BRIEF SUMMARY: The Department of Health and Human Services – Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (DHHS) and the Maine Department of Education (DOE) are jointly proposing these routine technical rule changes to implement P. L. 2019, Ch. 154: An Act to Protect Maine Children and Students from Preventable Disease by Repealing Certain Exemptions from the Laws Governing Immunization Requirements (the “Act”)

The proposed rules can be reviewed, here.

The Act prohibits the rule from including any provision governing medical exemptions and repeals the exemption from required immunization for school students who object, based solely on a sincere religious belief or philosophical reason, effective September 1, 2021, with exemptions for certain students.

Those students who may have declined immunizations based on religious or philosophical objection and are otherwise not eligible for exemptions permitted under Maine’s immunization laws, including those attending elementary or secondary schools for pre-kindergarten instruction, will be subject to current immunization requirements for the certain specified diseases. This rule proposes to require schools to include in their annual report any stricter immunization requirements that may be adopted by ordinance or policy, in addition to the immunization status of all students, including immune students, exempt and non-immunized excluded students.

Additionally, these proposed rule changes include new and revised definitions; add a vaccine schedule for pre-kindergarten students; clarify existing authority and responsibility to dismiss or exclude a child from school when there is a public health threat (20-A MRS § 6301; 22 MRS ch. 250); and clarify superintendent and school authority and responsibility. Finally, changes are proposed to the format of the rule for conformity with Maine CDC rulemaking standards.

As required by law, a public hearing for the proposed rule will be held as a Virtual Public Hearing on July 26, 2021 at 9:00 am, and can be accessed, here.
Meeting ID: 864 0432 7981
Passcode: XeNRq!D2

Comments may be submitted to DOE Legislative Affairs Team member Jaci Holmes, State House Station #23, Augusta, Maine 04333; 207-831-3168 or jaci.holmes@maine.gov `until 5:00 pm August 5, 2021.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Seeking Public Comments for a Tydings Amendment Waiver of FY20 ESEA Funds and FY21 Carryover of Excess Title I, Part A Funds

Pursuant to the authority granted under section 8401(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Maine Department of Education (DOE) intends to submit an application for waivers to the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE). As required, the Maine DOE is seeking 15 days of public comment from June 23, 2021 – July 7, 2021, on the request to waive the period of availability for Elementary & Secondary Education Act funds and Title I, Part A carryover limitations.

Requirements from which Maine will be seeking a waiver include:

A Tydings amendment waiver from Section 421(b) of the General Provisions Act to the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE). The Tydings amendment waiver seeks an extension to the availability of Federal Fiscal Year 2019/State Fiscal Year 2020 Elementary and Secondary Education funds. Programs affected by this waiver:

  • Title I, Part A of the ESEA (Improving Basic Programs Operated by LEAs), including the portions of the SEA’s Title I, Part A award used to carry out section 1003 school improvement, section 1003A direct student services, if applicable, and Title I, Part D, Subpart 2
  • Title I, Part B of the ESEA (State Assessment Formula Grants)
  • Title I, Part C of the ESEA (Education of Migratory Children)
  • Title I, Part D, Subpart 1 of the ESEA (Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At Risk)
  • Title II, Part A of the ESEA (Supporting Effective Instruction)
  • Title III, Part A of the ESEA (English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement)
  • Title IV, Part A of the ESEA (Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants)
  • Title IV, Part B of the ESEA (21st Century Community Learning Centers)
  • Title V, Part B, Subpart 2 of the ESEA (Rural and Low-Income School Program)
  • McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program

A carryover limitation waiver from Section 1127(a) of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended for Federal Fiscal Year 2020/State Fiscal Year 2021 Title I, Part A funds. The carryover limitation waiver seeks to waive the requirement that limits the Maine DOE’s ability to grant to its local educational agencies (LEAs) a waiver of the 15 percent Title I, Part A carryover limitation of more than once every three years.

The Maine DOE must solicit and respond to public comment on its waiver request as well as provide evidence of the available comment period. As the Maine DOE moves forward to provide as much flexibility as possible and continued support for expending ESEA federal funds, comments can be submitted to: Jessica Caron at Jessica.s.caron@maine.gov

PRIORITY NOTICE: Investment in Maine’s Career and Technical Education Centers Critical to Economic Recovery, Says Governor Mills

Governor’s Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan proposes $20 million for CTEs to train students and strengthen Maine’s workforce

During a tour of Foster Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center in Farmington today, Governor Janet Mills highlighted the importance of Maine CTEs in training skilled workers and spurring economic recovery and long-term growth from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Mills has proposed investing $20 million for program, equipment and facility upgrades for the state’s 27 CTEs as part of the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, her proposal to invest more than $1 billion in discretionary Federal relief funds allocated to Maine under the American Rescue Plan Act.

Maine CTEs have not received a significant investment from the State since 1998.

“Jobs in the trades bring with them good skills and good pay, as well as stable, life-long careers, but it’s been decades since we’ve invested in the upgrades our career and technical education centers need to train students to fill those jobs,” said Governor Mills. “Investment in Maine’s CTEs is critical to our economic recovery and long-term growth. With newly available funds, now is the time to make that investment to connect our students with rewarding careers and the businesses that are waiting to hiring them.”

“Governor Mills’ Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan will support the ability of the Foster Career and Technical Education Center, and all 27 CTEs around the state, to help students grow into career-ready adults,” said Melissa Williams, Director of the Foster CTE. “It is critically important that we have the ways and means to support students and create stronger relationships with business and industry partners. Thank you, Governor Mills, for this important investment.”

“Governor Mills’ support for Career and Technical Education Centers will help Maine’s CTEs unleash the potential of Maine’s young people, help fill Maine’s high-growth careers, and create sustained economic growth,” said Dave Keaton, CTE Director of Region Two School of Applied Technology in Houlton and incoming the Executive Director of Maine Administrators of Career and Technical Education (MACTE). “The investment from the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is long overdue, and will provide Maine students with exceptional learning opportunities and prepare them for future success as skilled members of Maine’s workforce.”

“Through the Foster CTE Center, I’ve had the opportunity to take business courses, intern at the United Way, and will be graduating with over 40 college credits,” said Mariah Thomas, a senior at Mt. Blue High School. “The support I’ve gotten from my school and programs has given me confidence and clarity in my college and career choices.”

“All my life I wanted to own my own veterinarian clinic, but didn’t know where to start. The courses I’ve taken at Foster CTE Center have given me the direction I needed,” said Allyson Walsh, a senior at Mt. Blue High School. “In the fall I will be attending the University of Maine to major in veterinary medicine and minor in business having already earned 46 college credits, which has given me a head start on my degree.”

“My experience in mechanical and architectural drafting helped spark my interest in engineering through hands-on modeling, design and innovation, which led to a degree in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute,” said James Brann, a 2007 graduate of the Foster CTE Center. “Whether students choose to pursue a college degree or enter the workforce directly, time spent at any of Maine’s Career and Technical Education schools is time well spent. Thank you to the educators who inspire our future machinists, engineers, loggers, mechanics, carpenters, electricians and more, and thank you to Governor Mills for recognizing the value of Maine programs like the one here at Foster CTE Center.”

“The relationship between Maine employers and the state’s Career and Technical Education Centers is important for Maine’s economy to ensure our students are learning the skills needed to thrive in skilled trades, health care, biotechnology, and more,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. “The workforce investments of the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, which total more than $100 million, will create new economic opportunities for Maine students and employers.”

As Attorney General, Governor Mills used funds she obtained through a settlement with Bath Fitter to create plumbing programs at several CTEs in Maine, including Foster CTE Center. In 2019, as Governor, Governor Mills also proposed a $5 million bond to support equipment upgrades at CTEs. The proposal was rejected by some members of the Legislature at the time despite bipartisan support.

Joining Governor Mills today were Melissa Williams, Director of Foster CTE, Allyson Walsh and Mariah Thomas, Foster CTE Center students, and James Brann, a 2007 graduate of Foster CTE Center.

Maine’s public education system has 27 CTE schools that provide Maine students with training for careers, including in welding, nursing and emergency medicine, computer programming and pre-engineering, electrical, heating and cooling systems, building trades, early childhood education, marine trades, automotive technology, horticulture, hospitality and culinary arts, among others.

Governor Mills has presented the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan to the Legislature and will travel the state in the coming weeks to discuss it in more detail with the people of Maine.

 

A Letter to America’s Teachers from Secretary Cardona

I never could predict what might happen in Mr. O’Neil’s art classes; I just knew I couldn’t wait for the next assignment.  Back then I didn’t realize all the ways this dynamic educator, a rare man of color leading our diverse classroom of second graders, was serving as a pioneer and role model for me and my peers in John Barry Elementary School.  But I’ll never forget how his teaching made me feel.  As a second grader, I remember looking up — watching him encourage, challenge and guide us – and thinking: “I want to be like him.”

In the years since embracing that calling and starting my career as a classroom teacher, I’ve kept that sense of purpose and wonder.  And my goal in all the administrative roles I’ve held is to facilitate great teaching and learning: to support and expand the transformative impact that skilled, caring classroom teachers have for students, schools, and communities.

Every day America’s teachers change lives, and every day those lives change the world.

Now, this truth can seem to recede as you rush to keep up with the day’s intense pace, and your students’ needs and opportunities.  Yet, from the first bell on the first day of the school year, you build a relationship with each of them.  You learn their strengths and struggles, laugh with them, cry with them, worry over them, cheer for them – and at the end of the school year, help them transition to their next grade level adventure.  You know all those experiences – both the academic and life lessons – have changed both you and them for the better.  You empower them to grow in skill and character — expand their understanding of the world and how to shape it — explore their interests and decide where to make their mark.

Teaching is not a job anyone just falls into.  It is mastery of a craft: in fact, the craft that enables all the others. In my experience, great teachers are also quintessential lifelong learners.  You use your command of learning science, your insights into your students’ unique needs and aptitudes, as well as the lessons of the past, the realities of the present and the inspiration, innovation and ingenuity of the future to help each new generation become leaders for today and tomorrow.  Throughout the year you support your fellow educators, add to your tools through professional development, provide feedback on assignments, sponsor sports, service learning, clubs and other extracurricular activities, collaborate with parents — in addition to everything you pour into your students during class.

Even in this unprecedented year, you rallied, finding new ways to engage with students.  In the face of tragedy, you learned new technologies and built virtual classroom communities, all while caring for yourselves and your own families.  As we heal, recover, and rebuild, this pandemic presents a chance to forge opportunity from crisis and reimagine education on every level.  We will use this time to address inequities in our education system, and your contributions will be invaluable.  The work won’t be easy, but the impact of your success will be profound, for students and communities.  I urge state, local, and elected officials to make sure classroom teachers have a voice in your plans and efforts to reimagine education; second to parents, they know our students best.

I look forward to learning and listening from you in the days ahead.  And, from all of us at the Department of Education: Happy Teacher Appreciation Week. There’s a reason teacher like Mr. O’Neil – and all of you – are memorable.  There’s a reason student in America’s classrooms watch you share your curiosity, energy and passion for ideas and think, “I want to be like them.”

You are embodiments of possibility, champions of your students’ potential and stewards of their success.

Dr. Miguel A. Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Education