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TO:                  Superintendents of Schools

FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:             November 28, 2005

SUBJECT:       Average Daily Attendance for the Rural Education Initiative

In preparation for the school year 2006-07, we anticipate that federal rural education funds will once again be available.  The Rural Education Initiative is made up of two programs: (1) the Small, Rural School Grant Program of which 117 districts were funded this school year; and (2) the Rural and Low-Income School Program of which 47 districts were funded.   The United States Education Department will award funds on a formula basis by State, proportionate to the number of students in average daily attendance served by eligible local educational agencies in the State compared to the number of all such students served by eligible local educational agencies in all States.  Districts will still receive their No Child Left Behind (NCLB) funding if they participate in either program. 

In addition, the Rural Education Achievement Program’s (REAP) REAP-Flex option will again be available as part of the NCLB application.  REAP-Flex allows small rural districts to flexibly use most NCLB funds for district priorities regardless of the program from which they were allocated.  Even if an eligible district does not receive supplemental funds under the Small, Rural School Grant Program, they still will have the flexibility to use funds under the REAP-Flex option in their NCLB application.  This option is not available for recipients of the Rural and Low-Income School Program.

For Maine to receive funds under this program, we must again collect the Average Daily Attendance (ADA) figure of all the schools in your district for the period from the beginning of this school year 2005-06 until December 1, 2005.  This number, combined with that of other districts, will generate funds for the State of Maine to be used in this program.  We need this information by Friday January 7, 2006 to meet the federal reporting requirement.

A minor change in counting eligible students this year is that districts with grade K, pre-K or 4 year-old programs may count their students as grade K by the State of Maine definition of Kindergarten.  This change may generate a greater ADA for some districts and it can lead to increased funding.

Your district may not have been eligible for funding last year.   Since the formula now allows the State to use Title IA eligibility data, districts that did not qualify last year may be eligible for the 2005-06 school year funds.  Several other Maine school districts had poverty data just short of the cutoff levels required for funding and may be eligible this school year.

Even if your district chooses not to participate in the Rural Education Initiative programs or REAP-Flex, the Secretary of Education will use your attendance data to generate the State’s allotment from which grants will then be awarded to eligible districts on a formula basis.  Thus, even if your district chooses not to participate, we will need the relevant Average Daily Attendance (ADA) data no later than January 7, 2006 to meet the federal reporting requirement.

Attached is a copy of the form called the Rural Education Information Form.  It is on our website, under Rural Education as a MSWORD document. Please complete this form and return it by January 7, 2006.   It can be submitted by mail, email, fax or hand delivered.

If you have any questions please contact the Rural Education Grant Director:  Dennis Kunces, Maine Department of Education, 23 State House Station Augusta ME  04333-0023, 624-6815  (with voicemail), 624-6791 (fax) or   (email).