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Home > Rules & Legislation > Letters from the Commissioner > Informational Letters > Letter 66

 

INFORMATIONAL LETTER:   66
POLICY CODE:   EBAB

TO:                  Superintendents of Schools

FROM:             Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:              January 29, 2007

SUBJECT:        Capital Asset Management Program Update

This letter is intended to update you regarding the current status of and proposed plans for Capital Asset Management (CAM) in schools.  The Department currently administers a web- based database for managing capital assets that is hosted by VFA Inc. of Boston.  A recent report developed for the Legislature, as well as responses from two school staff surveys, indicated certain inconsistencies in the data and some dissatisfaction with the current software and State program. As a result, the Department has convened a stakeholders group made up of State and school personnel to address these and other issues associated with managing capital assets in school buildings. With regard to CAM, school system personnel have frequently noted that the initial assessment information provided is of value for planning, budgeting and informational purposes; that the software is too complicated for occasional users; and that there is insufficient time for updating the database on a routine basis due to current priorities and staffing limitations.  The recommendations and the outcomes of the stakeholders group will be shared with all school administrative units this spring.

The Department is engaged in discussions with VFA regarding a possible extension of the current contract which expires in June of 2007, and is exploring additional options as well.  It is important to note that their contract may or may not be renewed in June of 2007 and school administrative units are encouraged to ensure that all work under their contracts for initial assessments, including all data input, is completed by the end of June. 
The Department has reimbursed school administrative units more than $600,000 for one-half the cost of their initial assessments over the past 3 years.  The intent of the reimbursements was to provide start-up funding to school administrative units to establish capital asset management programs.  The Department will continue to reimburse school administrative units for initial assessment and data input for the next several months.  Applications for reimbursement for one-half of the cost of the initial assessment and data entry will be accepted until June 30, 2007.

The Department has also made a commitment to reimburse school administrative units for the second half of the cost of the initial assessment and data entry after they have actively used the web-based software, including regular updates, for a period of two years.  To date, very few school administrative units have updated their data regularly, as required in order to be eligible for reimbursement.  To be eligible, schools administrative units must provide evidence that the school system staff has generated reports using the VFA software and submitted them to the Department within 2 years from implementation of their program.  These reports include but are not limited to reports which show evidence of:

  • Regular updating of campus and building descriptions
  • Requirements and actions
  • Archiving of resolutions to deficiencies
  • Updating of cost models and systems condition tables.

School administrative units may submit applications which demonstrate the above-listed items for the second reimbursement for their capital asset management programs for up to one year following the two-year anniversary date of their program implementation. 

The Department has conducted extensive free training courses for users of the software, but has received very few requests for training in the past year and a half.  School administrative units wanting or needing initial, refresher, or advanced training should contact the Department.

As the Department is currently engaged in exploring ways to improve procedures and processes for capital asset management, local reinvestment strategies, and facility maintenance in general, I encourage schools systems to share any ideas or information with us regarding those topics. 

Please contact Ed Antz at 624-6886 or at ed.antz@maine.gov, with any questions, or any information you wish to share.   Thank you.