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TO:                   Private School Administrators

FROM:             Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:              June 14, 2005

SUBJECT:        State Reporting Requirements pursuant to 20-A MRSA Chapter 117, subchapter 2 (as amended by P.L. 2005 Chapter 153) “Approval for the Receipt of Public Funds by Private Schools”

The Department of Education has developed an Educational Data Management System for the purpose of meeting the reporting requirements of No Child Left Behind(NCLB), the “Essential Programs and Services Model” (EPS), and other federal and state statutory requirements.   Under this system, it is imperative that all schools report their staff data, student data and financial data to Department of Education so that all reporting requirements can be met.

I understand that, in the past, you have not been required to submit such detailed information to the Department of Education pertaining to your staff, students or financial accounting, but given the reporting requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the Essential Programs and Service Model (EPS), the Department of Education will require this information in order for your school to be approved for the receipt of public funds pursuant to 20-A MRSA Chapter 117, subchapter 2 as amended by P.L. 2005 Chapter 153 (enclosed).   The specific information that is needed will be collected through the Maine Education Data Management System (MEDMS).   You must report staff information on the MEDMS staff data module, report student information on the MEDMS student information module and in the future financial information on the MEDMS financial information module.   Your cooperation on this matter is greatly appreciated.

At the present time, Department of Education has collected 100% of the staff data from all the public schools and has close to 100% of the student data for students attending public schools, including the assigning of unique student identifier numbers for these students.   The MEDMS financial accounting module is now under development with a model chart of accounts available on the Department of Education’s web at:  http://www.maine.gov/education/data/schfindata.htm .

Some of the reporting requirements in order for your school to be approved for the receipt of public funds for 2005-06, are the following:

The Department of Education will provide training on the use of MEDMS.   The Department of Education will also work with your Student Information Systems application provider as well as with your accounting software application provider to help ease the transition.    For more information on this training, please contact the MEDMS Help Desk at (207) 624-6896 or medms.helpdesk@maine.gov .

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Definitions:

Maine Education Data Management System (MEDMS)

The Maine Education Data Management System (MEDMS) is a comprehensive central data warehouse designed to collect and report system wide school, staff, student and financial information.  The MEDMS application is browser based and may be accessed from a PC or Mac using a secure user name and password.   Modules include:

Staff Information Module

The purpose of this module is to collect demographic data on individual staff as well as employment and job function data on approximately 40,000 public school staff.   Staff data will also have to be collected from those private schools that receive public funds for students from the local School Administrative Unit.   The Staff module went online December 2003 and the 2005/2006 version will be available for input and updating in August.   School Administrative Units have the option of filling out the staff data forms by someone from the central office, someone in the school office or by the staff member themselves.

Student Information Module

The purpose of this module is to collect personal and enrollment data on individual students enrolled in Maine schools.   Students are assigned a unique state student identifier (ID) number that follows them throughout their educational career even if they move from school to school within the state or leave the State and return.   The Student module went online in September 2005 and over 197,500 unique state student ID numbers have been assigned.   The Student application includes functionality for manual data input through web forms as well as import of student personal and enrollment data from school student information systems.  This module not only collects student personal and enrollment data but also collects information about Safe/Drug-Free Incidents, Habitual Truancy, Limited English Proficiency and Special Education.

Local Assessment System Module

The purpose of this module is to provide an application for School Administrative Units to manage, track and report “Maine Learning Results” assessments.   The application will provide local functionality and integrate with student information systems (SIS) and report aggregate data to the MEDMS system. Schools that already have their own Local Assessment System will be able to integrate directly with MEDMS for state reporting.  The MEDMS Local Assessment System module will go online in pilot locations in July 2005 and will be available for general use in Fall 2005.  At the present time, there is an interim data collection template – Excel macro spreadsheet online, which will allow for the importing of this data into the MEDMS Local Assessment System module.

Financial Reporting Module

The collection of financial data by the Maine Department of Education is needed to update the Essential Programs and Services Funding Model, to calculate tuition rates, to meet the federal financial reporting requirements of No Child Left Behind and to meet other federal and state reporting requirements.

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20-A MRSA, Chapter 117, Subchapter 2, as amended by P.L. 2005 Chapter 153

Subchapter 2: APPROVAL FOR THE RECEIPT OF PUBLIC FUNDS BY PRIVATE SCHOOLS

§2951. Approval for tuition purposes

A private school may be approved for the receipt of public funds for tuition purposes only if it:   

 1.  Basic approval. Meets the requirements for basic school approval under subchapter I;   

 2.  Nonsectarian. Is a nonsectarian school in accordance with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution;   

 3.  Incorporated. Is incorporated under the laws of the State of Maine or of the United States;   

 4.  Reports and audits.   

 5.  Additional requirements. Complies with the reporting and auditing requirements in sections 2952 and 2953 and the requirements adopted pursuant to section 2954;    

 6.  Student assessment. Any school that enrolls 60% or more publicly funded students, as determined by the previous year's October and April average enrollment, shall participate in the statewide assessment program to measure and evaluate the academic achievements of students; and   

 7.  Release of student records. Upon the request of a school unit, release copies of all student records for students transferring from the private school to the school unit.     

§2952. Report to commissioner

A private school receiving state funds, either directly or indirectly, and a private school approved for tuition and attendance purposes shall annually, in accordance with time schedules established by the commissioner, report to the commissioner the information the commissioner may require.   

§2953. Audit

The following audit shall be made. 

 1.  Annual audit. A private school approved for tuition purposes shall, on or before September 1st of each year, furnish to the State Auditor satisfactory proof that the books, accounts, financial documents and reports to the commissioner of the school for the preceding fiscal year have been examined and found to be in a satisfactory and accurate condition with proper vouchers on file. An audit must be made by the Department of Audit or by individuals or firms recognized as competent auditors by training and experience or by qualified public accountants. 

 2.  Special audit. Audits by the State Auditor may be requested by 3 or more duly elected and qualified officers of the private school. This audit must be conducted at the expense of the requesting school except when the audit is determined necessary by the commissioner.   

§2954. Rules of commissioner

The commissioner may adopt rules regarding tuition charges, accounting, audits, contracts and other aspects of schooling privileges arranged between a private school and school administrative units.   

§2955. Penalty for noncompliance

Private schools approved for tuition purposes that have not complied with this chapter may not receive tuition payments from any school administrative unit.