ESEA Monthly Newsletter

November 3, 2020 

We hope to provide you with helpful information monthly through the newsletter and office hours. Our newsletters will often include: 

  • General and Title Specific Updates from the ESEA Federal Programs Team 

  • Fun Data Fact(s)  

  • Friendly Reminders for Planning and Program Implementation 

  • Professional Learning Opportunities 

  • Contact Information 

Virtual Office Hours: 2nd Tuesday of every month from 10 - 11 am 

(Next Virtual Office Hour is Tuesday, November 10th: contact or your regional program coordinator for the link) 

General & Title Specific Updates from the ESEA Federal Programs Team 

Salaries and Benefits 

Information from the Maine Department of Education’s (DOE)  School Finance and Compliance Team:   Since fiscal year (FY) 2008, benefit lines are required to be reported in the same fund/program/function/cost center as the salary line is coded. We are starting to see a number of districts where the salary is coded to the federal fund, while the benefit is coded to general fund.   Please make note that the benefits must be paid out of the same fund as the salary is paid out of.   

From the ESEA Federal Programs Team:  If federal funds are insufficient to meet both salary and benefits, an allowable option would be to pay a percentage share of salary and benefits from each federal and local fund account.   


Last year, a cohort of districts were monitored in conjunction with Special Services. Several factors, including the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, have caused the ESEA Federal Programs Team the need to finish up this monitoring cycle from last year and to restructure the upcoming monitoring rotation. As a result, we will not be monitoring alongside the Special Services Team for school year 2020-2021. Instead, we will take this year to prepare trainings and resources to support districts when they are notified that they are in an upcoming monitoring cycle. More information will be coming out as this work progresses. 

Fun Data Fact(s) and ESEA Resource(s) Highlighted 

Over 42% of districts statewide had submitted the fiscal year (FY) 2020 Performance Report as of the morning of November 2nd. Please reach out to your ESEA regional program manager if you have any questions about completing the ESEA performance report. 

Did you know that each ESEA Title has a spending snapshot? The spending snapshots gives examples of allowable and unallowable uses of grant funds. Visit the ESEA Federal Programs website (, click on a Title specific icon to find a link to each spending snapshot. The spending snapshots might be helpful if the district has fiscal year (FY) 2019 funds remaining and might be thinking about creating a new project for the carryover funds. Due to a waiver, FY 2019 funds period of allowability is through September 30, 2021. If considering designing a new carryover project, be sure to touch base with your ESEA regional program manager! 

Friendly Reminders for Planning and Program Implementation 

Here’s a few things to keep in mind as the 2020-21 school year continues and November begins:   

Application and Performance Reports: 

As we have mentioned before, we understand that this school year is very unique, but our school educators and personnel continue to rise to the challenge!  Please know that we appreciate you and all of your hard work.  

This year the district and/or school may have created new goals to meet the evolving student needs. It is critical to continue to review the goals with all stakeholders, evaluate data to show growth or areas of need, and reflect any changes in the district and/or school’s Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA).  

Please note that the district must collaborate with teachers, paraprofessionals, principals, other relevant school personnel, and parents to plan the professional development activities, as stated in federal statute, Sec. 2122 (b)(7) Sec. 2102(b)(3). So, it is important to maintain documentation of name and role of individuals involved in collaborative planning meetings, collaborative planning meeting minutes, along with evidence of the professional development offerings and attendance.   

Just a friendly reminder that when fiscal year (FY) 2019 funds are fully expended, be sure to go into the FY 2019 Performance Report and complete the closeout reporting (extension carryover report and final expenditure summary). The spending snapshots (mentioned above) might be helpful if the district has fiscal year (FY) 2019 funds remaining and might be thinking about creating a new project for the carryover funds. Due to a waiver, FY 2019 funds period of allowability is through September 30, 2021. If your district is considering designing a new carryover project, be sure to touch base with your ESEA regional program manager! 


Parent & Family Engagement 

It is important to involve parents and families in the planning, reviewing, and implementing of engagement activities at both the district and school level. As parent and family engagement activities are being conducted, remember to gather evidence of meetings including agendas, itineraries, surveys, evaluations, etc.  Engagement activities should focus on addressing the needs of parent and family members to assist with the learning of their children and improving student academic achievement, including engaging with school personnel and teachers, supporting successful school and family interactions, and lessening the barriers to greater parent participation in activities. More information regarding parent and family engagement requirements can be found in ESSA Section 1116. 


Please review the description for supplies and equipment obtained from the Maine Department of Education’s Federal Grant Management Handbook which provides Fiscal Guidance for Federal Grant Programs from 2 CFR Part 200 - 2 CFR Part 225 - OMB Circular A-87. This handbook is available at  

§200.94   Supplies 

Supplies means all tangible personal property other than those described in §200.33 Equipment. A computing device is a supply if the acquisition cost is less than the lesser of the capitalization level established by the non-Federal entity for financial statement purposes or $5,000, regardless of the length of its useful life. See also §200.20 Computing devices and §200.33 Equipment.  

§200.33    Equipment 

Equipment means tangible personal property (including information technology systems) having a useful life of more than one year and a per-unit acquisition cost, which equals or exceeds the lesser of the capitalization level established by the non-Federal entity for financial statement purposes, or $5,000.  

State and Local 

Parent/Teacher Conferences:  Statute requires that the Title I School-Parent Compact be discussed as part of parent/teacher conferences in light of the connection of everyone’s responsibilities and their impact on student achievement.   To the extent possible, ask parents to review the parent responsibilities and find one or two activities that they could focus on with their child(ren).    

Section 1116(d)(2) of the Title I School-Parent Compact addresses the importance of communication between teachers and parents on an ongoing basis through, at a minimum— 

(A) parent-teacher conferences in elementary schools, at least annually, during which the compact shall be discussed as the compact relates to the individual child’s achievement; 

(B) frequent reports to parents on their child(ren)’s progress; 

(C) reasonable access to staff, opportunities to volunteer and participate in their child’s class, and observation of classroom activities; and 

(D) ensuring regular two-way, meaningful communication between family members and school staff, and, to the extent practicable, in a language that family members can understand. 

Professional Learning Opportunities 

Professional Learning offered through the Department of Education is a fantastic resource for supporting leadership development for administrators and educators. The Department’s professional learning calendar is available at This calendar has increased functionality including a search feature.  

For more information about professional learning opportunities specific to Tier III identified schools, please contact Teri Peaslee, School Turnaround Professional Development Coordinator at or (207) 624-6706. 

Contact Information 

As always, reach out to your ESEA regional program manager with questions. Their contact information can be found at Also, your feedback is encouraged and appreciated. Please contact Cheryl Lang at wit