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To:                   Superintendents of Schools (Please forward to Asst. Superintendents, Curriculum Coordinators, and School Principals)


From:               Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner


Date:                September 3, 2004


Re:                  One Year Waiver Application for Local Assessment System (LAS) Implementation Timeline


Key Points Covered in this Informational Letter:


·        The waiver application for the School Administrative Unit’s LAS is for one year only.

·        This application is limited to the timeline for having a Local Assessment System in place. It is not intended to be a waiver request for the graduation requirements. Graduation timelines are established in statute and therefore not subject to the Commissioner’s waiver authority in Chapter 127.

·        When applying for a waiver, use the Local Assessment System Checklist that is attached to Informational Letter # 117, dated May 12, 2004  - (

·        The Department will review waiver applications and provide you with the results of this review within two weeks of the date it is received.


At the beginning of the 2003-2004 school year, I presented a recommendation to the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs to delay for one year the requirement that students demonstrate achievement of mathematics and English language arts standards of Maine’s Learning Results as a basis for graduation from high school.  The Maine Legislature enacted LD 1924 which contained this delay in the graduation timeline in math and ELA.  However, LD 1924 did not extend the timeline for Local Assessment System completion.


In the Local Assessment System Checklist (attached to Informational Letter # 117) you will find the expectations for “completion” of Local Assessment Systems for the purpose of the superintendent’s signature on the blue Annual School Approval Report (EF-I-291).  The superintendent’s signature on the blue form indicates that your SAU’s LAS meets the minimum expectations listed on this LAS checklist.  A revised copy of the blue Annual School Approval Report (EF-I-291) will be available soon and be sent to superintendents with directions and a timeline for completion.


If your SAU does not meet the expectations described in the Local Assessment System Checklist, you should apply for a waiver. Chapter 127 authorizes the Commissioner to grant waivers due to “unforeseeable circumstances and undue hardship, including financial hardship.”  A waiver application, specific to the timeline for LAS completion, is for a period of one year only, and is not a request for local delay in the graduation timeline. 


In anticipation of the questions you may have related to whether or not your SAU should apply for the one-year waiver associated with your Local Assessment System and/or how you apply, we have prepared some specific guidance:


¨     Review the definition of “completion” in the Local Assessment System Checklist which outlines the expectations that superintendents should use as the basis for certifying, on the blue Annual School Approval Report (EF-I-291), that the Local Assessment System is complete for the purposes of 2003-2004 requirements.


¨     Make a checkmark on this list by those LAS parts that your SAU has not completed.


¨     If you are applying for a waiver, prepare a 2004-2005 compliance plan to include:


ü      a brief overview of the actions taken to meet the requirements prior to applying for the waiver;

ü      a description of the unforeseeable circumstances or undue hardships which led to this application;

ü      a statement of financial hardship, if applicable; and

ü      the action steps that your SAU will implement during the 2004-2005 school year to come into compliance with the regulations.  (Chapter 127, Section 10)


¨     Send your letter of application for a one year LAS timeline waiver, your status LAS checklist, and a copy of your compliance plan to:


Commissioner’s Office

Maine Department of Education

23 State House Station

Augusta, Maine 04333-0023


¨     The Department will review your LAS waiver application, including your compliance plan, and provide you with the results of that review within two weeks of receipt of your application.

¨     In addition, all SAUs applying for a waiver will be required to attend a DOE sponsored one-day technical assistance workshop.  Information on the location(s) and date(s) will be forthcoming.


The deadline for the submission of the waiver request is October 1, 2004.


If you have questions about the waiver and/or the process, please contact:

Patrick Phillips, Deputy Commissioner of Education (624- 6612, ) or Pam Rolfe, Local Assessment Coordinator (624-6785, )


Thank you.