Superintendent's Report



Superintendent Report


From: Mike Tracy, Superintendent

Date: 03-06-2019

To: RSU # 74 School Board


I. Legal/Risk:

A. Current Legal Update:

N/A

II. Governance / Policy:

A. Current Local Update:

1. Next REGULAR RSU #74 Board Meeting is scheduled for April 3, at 6:00 pm

2. RSU#74 Board Budget Meetings Scheduled March 13 and March 20,  at 6:00 pm. (CHS)

B. a. MSMA Updates:

Legislature adds 126 million to aid to education

Governor Janet Mills has released her proposed biennial budget for the next two fiscal years, adding $126 million into education – $41 million in 2019-2020 and $85 million in 2020-2021.

The increased General Purpose Aid will pay for expanded prekindergarten, make good on a commitment to raise starting teacher salaries to $40,000, and cover $18.5 million in costs in Child Development Services.

In the first year of the biennium, the increased funding raises state share to 50.7 percent of the cost of education as defined by Essential Programs and Services – up roughly 1 percent from the current state share.

In announcing her budget, Gov. Mills said:

“This budget makes a $126 million investment in K-12 education over the biennium. Local property taxpayers have unfairly borne a higher share of the cost for public education in recent years."

“This budget invests in recruitment and retention so that teachers in Maine will not be forced to leave the state for a living wage.”

Funds for raising teacher salaries will be distributed to schools in the second year of the biennium.

The Department of Education is hoping to have the ED-279 spreadsheets showing the distribution of GPA for 2019-2020 out to districts by next Friday.

 

C. Legislative Update:

(Same as last month - please see below!)

Following Bills are being discussed at the Legislative Committee level in coming days and directly affect education:

  1. L.D. 122—An Act To Prohibit an Employer from Asking a Prospective Hire about the Person's Compensation History until after a Job Offer Is Made

  2. L.D. 136—An Act To Establish a Special Education Circuit Breaker Reimbursement Program

  3. L.D. 137—An Act To Make the Maine Learning Technology Initiative More Cost-effective

  4. L.D. 147—An Act To Extend Internet Availability in Rural Maine

  5. L.D. 148—An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Recapitalize the School Revolving Renovation Fund and To Give Priority Status to Certain School Facility Upgrades

  6. L.D. 149—An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Provide Student Debt Forgiveness To Support Workforce Attraction and Retention

  7. L.D. 150—An Act To Improve Attendance at Public Elementary Schools

  8. L.D. 151—An Act To Align State Law with Current Practice Regarding Required School Attendance

  9. L.D. 152—An Act To Prohibit the Possession and Use of Electronic Smoking Devices on School Grounds

  10. L.D. 153—An Act To Strengthen Testing for Lead in School Drinking Water

  11. L.D. 160—An Act To Add Instruction in Personal Finance to the Statewide System of Learning Results

  12. L.D. 161—An Act To Increase Access to Career and Technical Education

  13. L.D. 162—An Act To Eliminate the State Income Tax on Maine Public Employees Retirement System Pensions

  14. L.D. 166—An Act To Protect Schoolchildren by Increasing the Penalty for Unlawful Passing of a School Bus

  15. L.D. 167—An Act To Prevent Food Shaming in Maine's Public Schools

  16. L.D. 173—An Act To Promote Economic Development and Critical Communications for Family Farms, Businesses and Residences by Strategic Public Investment in High-speed Internet

  17. L.D. 176—An Act To Enhance Participation on the State Board of Education

  18. L.D. 178—An Act To Increase the State Share of the Cost of Health Insurance for Retired Teachers

  19. L.D. 276—An Act To Provide Equity in the State Income Tax Deduction for Maine Public Employees Retirement System Pensions


D. Policy Update:

For April we will be working on policies that include topics such as: Federal Procurement (again), School Nutrition, Student Representation on the School Board, Administering Medications, Drug use (including Marijuana), Social Media policies, and review the next round of school policies 10 years old, or older.


III. Budget and Finance:


A. State Level:  

The funding model know as the Essential Programs and Services (EPS) model has improved in many ways across the state in areas such as special education, general rate for teachers, support positions including clerical, librarians and educations technicians, and funding for pre-school is up slightly.  However, locally our rates are down for guidance counselors, educational technicians, supplies and equipment, and system administration. And, noteworthy our state contribution is down for special education. Lastly, since the total municipal valuations are up 2% (2.6% just last year alone) across the towns in RSU #74, and the total student attending count is down 12.5 students (two year averages on both of these figures), the net decrease in state funding is approximately $43,000 for FY 20.


B. Finance Local:

Mr. Tracy has visited the local municipalities over the last two months to begin discussing the school budget process and outlook.




IV. Operations:


A. Facilities  Department:

We continue to look for ways to streamline and improve facilities.  There are some deferred maintenance costs and equipment being presented in the new FY 20 school budget.


B. Transportation Department:

For Facilities and Transportation, and Food Service we are looking to add a Director of Operations to the school’s budget for FY 20, we believe that this will improve the overall structure of school maintenance.


Additionally, the GPS tracker systems are up an running in the school’s busses.


C. School Nutrition:

N/A


D. Governance:

We are please to be able to continue our work with STEAM, Alternative Ed. into next year with shared partnerships with MSAD #13 and MSAD #59.  


V. Principal’s Reports:  (GSS, Solon, CSS and CHS)


VI. Academics and Instruction:


Transportation and Facilities Review:

Reminder, now in the school budget:

The Management Subcommittee met on January 23, and reviewed Mr. Tracy’s report (attached), the rationale was clear that there needed to be more direct oversight of the school district’s operations.  -Two new positions are being recommended. We have determined that we need someone who can provide training, direction, accountability and resources for Transportation, Facilities and Food Service. Furthermore, there was the determination that we needed a full time Operations Utility Worker who could support the Director and schools.  There will be restructuring and cuts made to off set these budgetary increases. Please see attached.


School Calendar:

The RSU #74 School district calendar has been prepared, and review and recommended to the school board at this time.  The major difference in this coming year’s school calendar is adding the 2 days back in during week of Thanksgiving vacation.  Otherwise, there are no major changes. The calendar meets state statute and is within the threshold allowed in connection with Somerset Career and Technical Center’s calendar.


FY 20 School DIstrict Budget:

Mr. Tracy has work with every department and school leader to vet out the subsequent school year budget.  We have added items as indicated in part by the strategic plan, but also as indicated as a need by each department head.  Furthermore, the school board finance committee has meet 3 times to determine the recommended school budget. It will be discussed at our next school board meeting in March.  Details will be offered at that time.


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