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ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER NO.   22

POLICY CODE:  IHBB   

 

TO:                   Superintendents of Schools

FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:             January 24, 2005

SUBJECT:     Waiver Request for Full Implementation of a Unit’s Gifted and Talented Plan           

            The 121 st Legislature enacted a statute related to gifted and talented education.   The statute reads:

Sec. 10.20-A MRSA §8104, sub-§1, as amended by PL 1999, c. 790, Pt. N, §3, is further amended to read:   1. Establishment.   Each school administrative unit shall, commencing with the 2004-2005 school year, fully implement its plan for phasing in gifted and talented educational programs.   Beginning with the 2004-2005 school year, a school administrative unit may apply to the commissioner for a one-year waiver of this requirement if full implementation of this requirement presents an undue burden.

Sec. 11.20-A MRSA §8104, sub-§2, as enacted by PL 1985, c. 463, §1, is further amended to read:   2.   Rules.   The commissioner shall amend or adopt rules to implement this section, including the identification of students, needs and resource assessment, and program planning, development and implementation.   Rules adopted pursuant to this section are routine technical rules pursuant to Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.

            Each school administrative unit (SAU) is required to submit its plan for Educational Programs for the Gifted and Talented (GT) this past summer.   Units that did not submit plans will be required to fully implement their original (1987) plan. There is a provision that allows you to request a one-year waiver for full implementation of your approved plan from the Commissioner of Education.   This waiver request may be submitted, using the guidelines below, to the Commissioner no earlier than January 15, 2005.   All requests must be received by May 1, 2005.   The waiver may be granted if the Commissioner determines that a good faith effort has taken place to implement the SAU’s Gifted and Talented Plan and up to an additional year is needed to complete the implementation.   The plan will then need to be fully implemented in 2005-2006.

Guidelines:

            The Commissioner may grant a waiver upon finding that, due to unforeseeable circumstances or undue hardship, the school administrative unit is unable to comply with Chapter 104 and that the compliance plan that the school administrative unit has submitted is reasonable.   In such cases the application for a waiver shall contain:

A)   Documentation of actions taken to meet the requirements prior to applying for the waiver, identify components of plan that have been implemented, or will be implemented by the end of this school year.

 

B)   A description of the unforeseeable circumstances or undue hardships, including financial hardship, that led to this request.

 

C)   The plan that the school administrative unit will implement to ensure full implementation of the unit’s plan by June 30, 2006, including a timeline.

            If full implementation of the unit’s approved gifted and talented plan will not be completed by June 30, 2005 and a waiver request is not submitted and approved, there will be no approved budget for 2004-2005.

            Please contact Wanda Monthey at 624-6831, wanda.monthey@maine.gov, if you have any questions or would like further information.