ESEA Monthly Updates

May 2024

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
  • Friendly Reminders for Planning and Program Implementation
  • Fiscal Corner
  • Professional Learning Opportunities
  • Contact Information
Virtual Office Hours: May 14 at 9 AM

GENERAL AND TITLE SPECIFIC UPDATES

ESEA FY25 Preliminary Allocations Update

Preliminary allocations for each title are located on the ESEA Federal Programs webpage at the following location: Fiscal Allocations | Department of Education (maine.gov)

Title I, Part A

Maine’s Title I, Part A funding received a 2.5% decrease in FY25 for Preliminary Allocation Estimates from the US Department of Education (USDOE). This estimate represents an overall reduction of $1,497,180 in Title I, Part A funding for the State of Maine in FY25.  Maine received $62,310,372 in Title I, Part A funds in FY24 and that amount is expected to decrease to $60,813,192 in FY25. Maine's national poverty census data decreased and did not increase as much as other states, resulting in a lower national poverty share which usually generates a decrease in Maine’s overall Title I, Part A allocation. Please also recognize that the private school amounts are from FY24 and do not include the new data that will be used for FY25. Additional communication was released directly to small SAUs and large SAUs who were impacted by an adjustment to the charter school student count process, a drop in Title I eligibility, and a concentration calculation error from Title I, Part A Coordinator, Jessica Caron.

Title II, Part A

Maine’s preliminary FY25 allocation for the Title II, Part A program is $10,786,692, which represents level funding for the program to the previous fiscal year. Maine has traditionally accounted for student moves between the SAU they reside in and the SAU they attend as part of the Title IIA allocation process. Maine received a finding and subsequent technical assistance from the USDOE in its most recent federal review and may no longer implement this practice and must rely solely on census data when allocating Title IIA funds. This will result in some SAUs receiving more funding than they had in the past and some receiving less. SAUs impacted by this recent change have received outreach from Title II Coordinator, Ryan Reed.

Title III, Part A

Maine’s preliminary FY25 allocation for the Title III, Part A program is $1,004,205.00 which represents a slight increase in funding for the program to the previous fiscal year. FY25 Title III, Part A Allocations have been generated for ALL SAUs with at least one multilingual (ML) student for the purpose of allowing SAUs the option to form a consortium to reach the statutory required minimum award amount of $10,000.  SAUs that wish to form a consortium for the purpose of Title III, Part A allocation only, will need to submit a letter of intent (available April 30) to the Maine DOE by June 30, 2024.  When final allocations are received, an SAU that is not part of a consortium or by itself generates less than an award of $10,000 will be removed and will not receive a Title III, Part A allocation.  As a result, the dollar per student ratio will increase as will allocations. An informational webinar regarding Title III consortia will be scheduled for the week of May 13 – registration details to follow.  Questions related to the forming of consortiums should be directed to Title III Coordinator, Daniel Weeks.

Title IV, Part A

Maine’s preliminary FY25 allocation for the Title IV, Part A program is $6,659,535.00, which represents level funding for the program to the previous fiscal year.

Title V, Part B

There have been no significant changes to the Title V, Part B program for the upcoming fiscal year. 

Title IA: The Title I Committee of Practitioners
A Public Notice through the Maine DOE Newsroom was published last week inviting coordinators, school leaders, and other representatives of Title I programming to Maine’s Title I Committee of Practitioners. Coordinators, we would love your participation AND for you to share this opportunity with colleagues in your schools: other administrators, teachers, support personnel, Ed-techs, etc. because this group should be diverse in roles and geography. Please reach out to Rita Pello (rita.pello@maine.gov) if you have any questions. And please share and fill out this form to join!

Title IA: Applying for Schoolwide Authority
This is a reminder to districts who are moving from Title I Targeted Assistance Programs to Schoolwide Programs for FY25 to turn in the Schoolwide Plan and application materials to Rita Pello (rita.pello@maine.gov) by July 1st, 2024. For more information on what this process requires, please see our guidance.

Title IA: Summer Reallocated Application
Some exciting news! The Title I team is awarding $1,957,352.26 to 56 districts in the state of Maine. All relevant SAUs should have received messaging through Grants4ME with details and deadlines. Please reach out to Rita Pello (rita.pello@maine.gov) if you have any questions about this grant.

Maine’s Model of School Support
Notification of schools identified for support under Maine’s Model of School Support for FY2023-2024 has started and will continue over the next couple of weeks.

FRIENDLY REMINDERS FOR PLANNING AND PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION

Public Comment Period

As part of the annual ESEA application completion process, SAUs must assemble an ESEA application development team and hold planning meetings on the use of the SAU’s ESEA funds. Once a plan is made, the public must be given ample opportunity to provide comments on this plan, and if comments are submitted, they must be considered as the final application is developed. One way many SAUs accomplish this is by including an update on the district’s ESEA application as part of a school board meeting each spring, with a public comment period to follow.

Please note that whatever way the SAU chooses to accomplish this public comment period, they must give ample notice to all members of the public, not just those with children in their school(s). The public comment period must be within the application development timeframe (late winter-summer). Lastly, they also must complete the public comment period before the application is submitted to MDOE.

Annual CNA Updates

Another annual process for SAUs is meeting with a variety of stakeholders to update their district and school Comprehensive Needs Assessments based on new data. As part of the ESEA application, districts are asked to document the high needs areas of their districts and schools, as well as the data sources they used to make those determinations, the names of the stakeholders involved, and dates the updates were conducted on.

SAUs must update as much of their CNA as possible, prior to the initial submission of the FY25 ESEA Application, in order determine high areas of need and to generate goals—particularly the required non-academic goal(s). SAUs without alternative assessment data will need to further update their CNA and generate academic goals when state assessment results become available. For Substantial Approval, math and literacy goal requirements at both the school and district levels will be temporarily waived; non-academic goals will still be required. SAUs may put placeholder information into the required fields of the application when applicable. For Final Approval, all district and school goal requirements must be met.

Non-Public School Equitable Services

Preliminary allocations and equitable service percentages for the FY25 ESEA application have been calculated and posted on our website. For the Title IA program, SAUs can reference last year’s final equitable service amounts for current planning needs.

At this time, ESEA Coordinators should be reaching out to their partners at any non-public schools within the SAU’s geographic boundaries to begin the consultation process. The form to document this process has changed significantly from past years, and you can find a new copy of it, along with a number of new resources, by clicking on the “Equitable Services” icon on our Resources page.

Equitable service percentages for Titles IIA, IIIA, and IVA apply to the total amount of funding allocated in each Title after any administrative costs and transfers between Titles have occurred. This means that if the district plans to transfer funds between Titles that must be agreed upon during the consultation process with its non-public school(s).

The consultation process must also include a discussion of the needs of the students in the non-public school(s), plans for how funds can be spent to meet those needs, and SMART goals to help measure the extent to which those needs will be met. Keep in mind that the public SAU must always retain fiscal control of all ESEA funding and that federal ESEA funds may never be paid directly to a non-public school. All of the SAU’s policies and procedures must be followed, just as they would be if the funds were being spent at the SAU’s public schools, including requirements around supplies, inventories, staff travel, etc.

This also represents a good time to check-in with our non-public partners on any FY22 carryover funds that may still be reserved for equitable services, and if no plans exist for utilizing those funds, consider what can be done so they are not returned on 9/30/24.

FISCAL CORNER

Federal Fiscal Office Hours

Join us for the next Federal Fiscal Office Hour, on May 30th at 10:00 am where we will review three of the written policies and/or procedures required to use federal funds. Access the Professional Development Calendar link to register and put this hour on your calendars.

Budgeting and Contracts

It is that time of year where planning, budgeting, and looking for resources to support the 2024-2025 school year is in full swing.

A reminder to refrain from entering into any type of contracted service agreements until after the substantial approval date of your FY 25 ESEA application for funds. The earliest date that substantial approval can be provided is 7/1/24.

Please keep in mind if you have funds remaining in the FY 22 ESEA grant or FY 23 Tier III School Improvement Grant, they must be obligated, goods and services received by 9/30/24.

Invoicing
All invoices submitted to Grants4Me must be accompanied by a detailed expenditure report that aligns with your request. When invoicing for professional development please upload backup documents (registration receipt/invoice, travel receipts, etc.) to support the purchase.

Invoices submitted for reimbursement should only include expenses that were incurred during the period of performance for the grant.

Some things to consider when budgeting for professional development using grant funds:

  1. Registration, attendance, and travel must all be incurred during the period of performance for the grant.
  2. Reimbursement is only available after the completion of the professional development.

Be mindful of the obligation date and review 76.707 in Edgar.

Two important dates to be mindful of when requesting reimbursement: 1) Substantial approval date and 2) Period of Performance for the grant.

Grants4ME

When completing the expenditures page in Grants4Me you receive an error message as the amount you are entering exceeds what was budgeted for the object code; do not just move the expense to an object code that has funds remaining to cover the costs. A budget adjustment in the application is necessary. Once the budget revision is completed in the application, submitted, and approved by the Regional Program Manager, the funds will become available on the invoicing side in the correct object code.

Open Grants

The following chart includes ESEA federal grants that are currently open to access funds. Please note that several grants will close this year. It is recommended that you make a cheat sheet similar to the one below and set aside some time each month to review the status of your grants and reimbursements. This will mitigate the risk of losing funds that will be ending soon.

Grant                                                                          Period of Performance

FY 22 ESEA Consolidated Funds

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

FY 23 ESEA Consolidated Funds

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

FY 23 Tier III School Improvement Funds

9/1/22 – 9/30/24

FY 24 ESEA Consolidated

Substantial Approval – 9/30/25

FY 24 Tier III School Improvement

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

2023-2024 21st CCLC Grant Awards

7/1/23 – 6/30/24

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING CALENDAR

Professional Learning offered through the Department of Education is a fantastic resource for supporting leadership development for administrators and educators. The Department’s professional development calendar is updated regularly with the latest professional development opportunities.

TYPICAL TURNAROUND TIME

We strive for effective, efficient, transparent, and collaborative communication. The following document outlines the best practices for optimal communication with the Office of Federal Programs.

Giving your regional program manager an appropriate amount of time to respond before reaching out to another ESEA Team Member allows us to maintain these best practices. Thank you for your help with this.

We will continue to work to strengthen areas of support by utilizing the ones that are most effective and efficient, so we can continue to provide you with strong customer service collectively and individually.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Please remember, the best person to connect with to answer questions related to ESEA Federal Programs is outlined below. They will get you the answer if they do not have it readily available.

April 2024
GENERAL & TITLE-SPECIFIC UPDATES

Public Comment Needed: FY23 Tydings Amendment Waiver and FY24 Title I Carryover of Excess Waiver

The Maine Department of Education (MDOE) is pursuing a FY23 Tydings Amendment waiver and an FY24 Title I Carryover of Excess waiver from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE). These waivers would extend FY23 ESEA funds for availability through 9/30/25 and allow the state to grant Title I carryover waivers so that SAUs can retain Title funding over the typical 15% threshold.

ESEA Coordinators, we HIGHLY encourage you to share your feedback on why these flexibilities would be helpful for your district. The more comments we receive, the better our chances of receiving approval for these waivers from the USDOE. Please submit your comments by email to Janette Kirk at Janette.Kirk@maine.gov by Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Spring Monitoring Window is Open for Submissions on Monday, 4/1

The SPRING Monitoring Instrument is open Monday, April 1, 2024 and ready for the submission of the required monitoring items. All items need to be uploaded to the Monitoring Instrument in Grants4ME by Monday, April 15, 2024.

If your monitoring status is a MEDIUM level of support needed, the items under the "medium" status need to be uploaded. If your monitoring status is a HIGH level of support needed, the items under both the "medium" and "high" statuses need to be uploaded. Note that some titles may not apply to your LEA if you transfer them out or do not receive them.

There is a Monitoring Guidance document, fact sheets for each monitoring item, and other resources located on our web page:  ESEA Monitoring | Department of Education (maine.gov)

To monitor Title I Schoolwide Programs, Item A6 will require SAUs to submit the most recent version of their plans.  We would also like to note that when monitoring Title I Targeted Assistance Programs in the fall, Item A2, we have updated the fact sheet to reflect revised procedures to ensure a school is operated a TAS program that meets the requirements of ESEA Section 1115.

If you have any general questions or programmatic questions related to the monitoring requirements, please reach out to your regional program manager.
 

ESEA FY25 Preliminary Allocations Delayed

The federal Congressional Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill has been passed. The MDOE is still waiting to receive final figures from the USDOE on Maine’s ESEA funding amounts.

Typically, the ESEA funding amounts come to Maine in January from the federal government, and we can run the calculations by mid-March. Unfortunately, due to the delay in Congressional Appropriations, we are unable to provide funding estimates for SAUs until we receive updated figures from the USDOE. Once we do have estimates, we will do our best to get them out the door as quickly as possible. 
 

Change in Title IIA Allocations Process for FY25

As part of this past spring’s federal auditing of Maine DOE’s ESEA programming, the US Department of Education issued a finding related to how Maine calculates SAU’s Title IIA allocations. While Title IIA statute requires states to utilize Census poverty data and student counts to determine how much funding is allocated to each SAU, in an effort to support and streamline the allocation process, Maine has long held the practice of accounting for student moves between SAUs using October 1 counts of attending students. In doing so, the funds allocated for each student based on the census data followed that student from the SAU in which they lived to the SAU in which they actively attended school. This increased the allocation of the receiving district and decreased the allocation of the sending district.

Throughout the audit process, Maine DOE staff have advocated to our federal partners that this represents the most equitable and efficient way to distribute Title IIA funds. While true for all students that receive an education in an SAU outside the SAU in which they geographically reside, it is especially true for any SAU that receives students via school choice, or whose boundaries include a non-public school that receives students via school choice.

The US Department of Education Program Review Report clearly articulates Maine DOE can no longer continue this practice and must allocate Title IIA funds based solely on Census data. Therefore, the Title IIA allocations of every SAU within the state for upcoming FY25 (SY 24/25) will be impacted by this change. Though those SAUs with a high preponderance of students attending their own public or non-public schools from other SAUs will see the most significant impact.

Those SAUs poised to be most negatively impacted by this change should have received a letter with this information, as well as what their allocation would have looked like in FY24 if this new process had been used, through Grants4ME on March 28th.
 

Title IIA Survey

SAUs were recently notified if they were selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) annual survey on the use of funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Title II, Part A “Supporting Effective Instruction – Subgrants to LEAs” program for the 2023−24 school year. This survey is administered by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), and covers financial data, professional development plans, and staffing allocations to ensure compliance with the Title II-A program requirements. Please note, this is a different organization than the one that has administered the survey in previous years.

As an LEA receiving funds under ESEA Title II-A, your voluntary participation in this data collection is expected and appreciated. The survey will take approximately 55 minutes and will be administered to a sample of LEAs in our state. It is important that LEAs are represented in the data that will be reported to Congress.

You will receive an email from TitleTwo@air.org providing a link to the web-based survey. Please ensure the survey is completed by the individual most knowledgeable about the use of Title II-A funds within your LEA, such as the ESEA coordinator. Any questions about the survey should be sent directly to TitleTwo@air.org as Maine DOE does not administer this survey.
 

Title IIIA Consortia Information

Maine Department of Education is excited to be rolling out the opportunity for Title III Consortia.  Currently we are working with our vendor to implement this into the FY25 ESEA Consolidated Application.  Below are some pieces from a more comprehensive guidance document that is in the works and set to be available soon.

WHAT IS A CONSORTIUM?

A consortium is a collective group of LEAs who are eligible to receive Title III funds but are below the threshold for an individual application. One LEA must agree to serve as the Lead LEA/Fiscal Agent of the consortium.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A CONSORTIUM?

LEAs are able to access Title III funds to provide supplemental support for English learners. Title III-funded support must include:

  1. Programs that increase English language proficiency and student achievement in core content classes; and
  2. Effective professional development opportunities for classroom teachers, principals, administrators, and other school personnel designed to improve instruction and assessment of ELs; and
  3. Effective strategies and activities for parents and family members of ELs that enhance or supplement language instruction educational programs for English learners.

 WHO MAY JOIN A CONSORTIUM?

Any LEA serving English learners (ELs) may choose to join a consortium, regardless of the allocation amount or the number of ELs; however, an LEA with an allocation below the required $10,000 threshold MUST join a consortium in order to receive funds. The combined Title III original allocations of all members must meet or exceed $10,000. Carryover amounts are not included when determining the required threshold.
 

Title V Update

Under the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2024, the SAUs that are eligible for the RLIS program under the Hold Harmless provision will be receiving 83.3% of the FY20 RLIS award instead of the 66.6% LEAs were scheduled to receive for the upcoming fiscal (FY25) year.  Districts that are Dual eligible for both RLIS and the SRSA are encouraged to reach out to the Title V Coordinator, Daniel Weeks, at daniel.r.weeks@maine.gov to receive an RLIS estimate to help make a decision on which grant under Title V (SRSA or RLIS) they would like to go with.  The SRSA application is set to open soon according to the U.S. Department of Education's REAP (Title V) team.  Here is a link to the Master Eligibility Spreadsheet so LEAs can check their status.

Equitable Services for Non-Public Schools

The ESEA team has updated our non-public equitable service resources on our Resources page. This includes the one-hour training recording for SAUs that provide equitable services. As a reminder, attending this training or viewing the recording is a requirement for non-public schools to receive equitable services in FY25.

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In addition, three SAUs in Maine have Title I, Part D Subpart 2 funds for Neglected & Delinquent youth living in local residential facilities. Please note that the ESEA participation form for these facilities is listed on that page as well. Please use the updated form for FY25 and be on the lookout for an email inviting those SAUs to a specific Title I, Part D training prior to the FY25 application season.

Maine’s Model of School Support

Information related to Maine’s Model of School Support remains unavailable until the Maine Department of Education (DOE) receives final USDOE amendment approval and once finalized and provided, Maine DOE staff will reach out to schools identified for additional support.

The period of allowability for FY 24 SIG application funds ends on 9/30/2024, but this end date may change if a school "exits" Tier III (CSI) school improvement status when FY 24 identifications are made. It is recommended that schools obligate FY 24 SIG funds by the end of the school year (June 30, 2024). Invoicing should be done on a regular basis and align with obligation dates.

FY 23 SIG applications funds will expire on 9/30/2024, but this end date may change if a school "exits" Tier III (CSI) school improvement status when FY 24 identifications are made. It is recommended that schools obligate FY 23 SIG funds as soon as possible and before the end of the school year (June 30, 2024). Invoicing should be done on a regular basis and align with obligation dates.
 

State Activities Reservation Survey

Each year, the Maine DOE receives funding under Title II, Part A and Title IV, Part A of the ESEA to support the ongoing training and technical assistance needs of Maine schools. To that end, the Maine DOE wants to hear from stakeholders like you about the needs you are seeing in our schools. If you’d like to have a voice in how these funds are used, we ask that you provide us with your feedback by completing this brief survey. We also encourage you to share it with other stakeholders in your community.

The Maine DOE will use the data collected through this survey process to determine how best to utilize these funds to address current needs across the state. Thank you in advance for your time and input!
 

FISCAL CORNER

Federal Fiscal Office Hours

Do you have a question for the Federal Fiscal Team? Let us answer your questions at the next Federal Fiscal Office Hour, on April 25th at 10:00 am. Representatives from all Federal Programs will be on hand to answer your questions. This should be viewed as a one-stop shop for federal funds and fiscal responsibilities. Access the Professional Development Calendar link to register and put this hour on your calendars.

Budgeting and Contracts

It is that time of year where planning, budgeting, and looking for resources to support the 2024-2025 school year is in full swing.

A reminder to refrain from entering any type of contracted service agreements until after the substantial approval date of your FY 25 ESEA application for funds. The earliest date that substantial approval can be provided is 7/1/24.

Please keep in mind if you have funds remaining in the FY 22 ESEA grant or FY 23 Tier III School Improvement Grant, they must be obligated, goods and services received by 9/30/24.

Invoicing
All invoices submitted to Grants4Me must be accompanied by a detailed expenditure report that aligns with your request.

Invoices submitted for reimbursement should only include expenses that were incurred during the period of performance for the grant.

Some things to consider when budgeting for professional development using grant funds.

  • Registration, attendance, and travel must all be incurred during the period of performance for the grant.
  • Reimbursement is only available after the completion of the professional development.
  • Be mindful of the obligation date and review 76.707 in Edgar.

Two important dates to be mindful of when requesting reimbursement, 1) Substantial approval date and 2) Period of Performance for the grant.

Open Grants

The following chart includes ESEA federal grants that are currently open to access funds. Please note that several grants will close this year. It is recommended that you make a cheat sheet similar to the one below and set aside some time each month to review the status of your grants and reimbursements. This will mitigate the risk of losing funds that will be ending soon.

Grant                                                                                            Period of Performance

FY 22 ESEA Consolidated Funds

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

FY 23 ESEA Consolidated Funds

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

FY 23 Tier III School Improvement Funds

9/1/22 – 9/30/24

FY 24 ESEA Consolidated

Substantial Approval – 9/30/25

FY 24 Tier III School Improvement

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

2023-2024 21st CCLC Grant Awards

7/1/23 – 6/30/24

March 2024
GENERAL & TITLE-SPECIFIC UPDATES

ESEA FY25 Preliminary Allocation Estimates Delayed

The federal Congressional Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill has not been decided. This appropriations bill will need to be passed for the U.S. Department of Education to know how much ESEA funding there is available for each title.

Typically, the ESEA funding amounts come to Maine in January from the federal government, and we can run the calculations by mid-March. Unfortunately, due to the delay in Congressional Appropriations, we are unable to provide funding estimates for SAUs as it will depend entirely on if Congress can make decisions for funding.

Once we do have estimates, we will do our best to get them out the door as quickly as possible.  Please continue to follow the news on this topic. The latest update given is that Congress is planning to come to an agreement by mid-March on these funding appropriations. 

Equitable Services for Non-Public Schools Training

The ESEA team hosted a one-hour training for SAUs that provide equitable services as well as for their non-public school partners. The recording can be found here. This training covered background information on Title funds and what kinds of equitable services are allowable, consultation best practices, and fiscal requirements. Attending this training or viewing the recording is a requirement for non-public schools to receive equitable services in FY25.

Other resources related to Equitable Services can be found on the Maine DOE website.

Title IA Summer Reallocated Application

Districts seeking Title IA Reallocated funding to facilitate summer programming will have an opportunity to apply for Title IA Summer Reallocated funds.

The Title I team hosted a basic, informational session about the application on Tuesday, March 5. Please watch the 13-minute training to familiarize yourself with this particular Title I grant opportunity and its parameters if the SAU is interested in applying. This video and other resources related to the Title I Summer Grant can be found on our website.

The deadline to submit the application is Friday, March 29 (5 PM EST). Please reach out to rita.pello@maine.gov or jessica.s.caron@maine.gov with questions.

Maine’s Model of School Support

Information related to Maine’s Model of School Support remains unavailable until the Maine Department of Education (DOE) receives final USDOE amendment approval and once finalized and provided, Maine DOE staff will reach out to schools identified for additional support.

The period of allowability for FY 24 SIG application funds ends on 9/30/2024, but this end date may change if a school "exits" Tier III (CSI) school improvement status when FY 24 identifications are made. It is recommended that schools obligate FY 24 SIG funds by the end of the school year (June 30, 2024). Invoicing should be done on a regular basis and align with obligation dates.

FY 23 SIG applications funds will expire on 9/30/2024, but this end date may change if a school "exits" Tier III (CSI) school improvement status when FY 24 identifications are made. It is recommended that schools obligate FY 23 SIG funds as soon as possible and before the end of the school year (June 30, 2024). Invoicing should be done on a regular basis and align with obligation dates.

FY25 Equitable Services Survey Now Open

The annual survey for data on on-public school enrollments was shared with Non-Public School leaders and ESEA coordinators at our training last week. Non-public schools must fill out this survey by 4/1/24 to have the most accurate data in determining equitable services for FY25.

A priority notice from MDOE will be going out in the near future covering this same information directly to non-public schools, but if ESEA coordinators could also pass the link on to their non-public partners it would be appreciated.

Anyone with questions can reach out to ryan.reed@maine.gov

State Activities Reservation Survey

Each year, the Maine DOE receives funding under Title II, Part A and Title IV, Part A of the ESEA to support the ongoing training and technical assistance needs of Maine schools. To that end, the Maine DOE wants to hear from stakeholders like you about the needs you are seeing in our schools. If you’d like to have a voice in how these funds are used, we ask that you provide us with your feedback by completing this brief survey.

The Maine DOE will use the data collected through this survey process to determine how best to utilize these funds to address current needs across the state. Thank you in advance for your time and input!

 

FISCAL CORNER

Federal Fiscal Office Hours

Do you have a question for the Federal Fiscal Team? Let us answer your questions at the next Federal Fiscal Office Hour, on March 28th at 10:00 am. Representatives from all Federal Programs will be on hand to answer your questions. This should be viewed as a one-stop shop for federal funds and fiscal responsibilities. Access the Professional Development Calendar link to register and put this hour on your calendars.

Temporary Holds for ESEA Funds

For SAUs that have long overdue submissions related to ESEA grant applications, performance reports, and/or monitoring response items, the ESEA Team has made the difficult decision to begin placing temporary holds on access to ESEA funding. The purpose of these temporary holds is to ensure that timely and adequate progress on overdue submissions is made by the impacted SAUs.

If a temporary hold has been placed on your SAU's access to ESEA funds, you will receive a notice from your Regional Program Manager through the Grants4ME system, as well as a system notification informing you of the temporary hold. These holds are specific to ESEA consolidated application funding and will remain in effect until the outstanding items from an SAU are received and approved by the Maine DOE. Questions regarding these holds and the work required to have them lifted should be directed to your Regional Program Manager. 

Invoicing

All invoices submitted to Grants4Me must be accompanied by a detailed expenditure report that aligns with your request. Invoices submitted for reimbursement should only include expenses that were incurred during the period of performance for the grant.

Some things to consider when budgeting for professional development using grant funds:

  • Registration, attendance, and travel must all be incurred during the period of performance for the grant.
  • Reimbursement is only available after the completion of the professional development.
  • Be mindful of the obligation date and review 76.707 in Edgar.

Open Grants

The following chart includes ESEA federal grants that are currently open to access funds. Please note that several grants will close this year. It is recommended that you make a cheat sheet similar to the one below and set aside some time each month to review the status of your grants and reimbursements. This will mitigate the risk of losing funds that will be ending soon.

Grant                                                             Period of Performance

FY 22 ESEA Consolidated Funds

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

FY 23 ESEA Consolidated Funds

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

FY 23 Tier III School Improvement Funds

9/1/22 – 9/30/24

FY 24 ESEA Consolidated

Substantial Approval – 9/30/25

FY 24 Tier III School Improvement

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

2023-2024 21st CCLC Grant Awards

7/1/23 – 6/30/24

February 2024
GENERAL & TITLE-SPECIFIC UPDATES

Title IA: Parents’ Right to Know

An important part of Title IA programming is centered around consistent communication and collaboration with families. During this monitoring cycle, districts submitted “Parent’s Right to Know” letters, webpages, and handbook entries as evidence of their compliance with this requirement. For districts who did not meet the requirement or want to update their documentation, please take a look at the sample provided online and/or our family engagement reference document on our website for further support.

Within the district’s documentation, it’s important that the language directly communicates that parents have a right to request information concerning teacher qualifications and assessment policies, procedures, and student achievement at any time (and the LEA must provide said information in a timely manner).

Title IA: Family Engagement Nights & Allowability (Food & Décor)

Many districts across the state use Title IA funds to invite parents into the doors of their school for fun and educational math or literacy nights. While districts can spend their school-based family engagement funds on supplies for these evenings, please note that supplies should be connected to the overall purpose and goals of Title I, Part A, which is improving academic achievement. In most cases, décor to fit a theme would not be allowable.  However, small incentives, such as books or certificates would be allowable.

Additionally, purchasing food with federal funds requires a greater burden of proof for its necessity, allowability, and reasonableness. The MDOE often requests further evidence that providing food (during meal hours) has increased the attendance rates and engagement. When a SAU is hosting a meeting, they should structure the agenda for the meeting so that there is time for participants to purchase their own food, beverages, and snacks.

Providing as much detail as possible on these two topics in an application can prevent delays or rejections when invoicing. When in doubt about family engagement food purchases or supply allowability, please reach out to your Regional Program Manager and use the Title I, Part A spending snapshot as a guide. We are here to support your efforts in engaging with a wide variety of families in your communities.

Equitable Services for Non-Public Schools Training

The ESEA team is excited to announce a one-hour training for SAUs that provide equitable services as well as for their non-public school partners whose students benefit from these funds on Wednesday, February 28th, 2024 at 2pm.

This training will cover background information on Title funds and what kinds of equitable services are allowable, as well as consultation best practices and fiscal requirements when providing equitable services. Attending this training or viewing the recording will be a requirement for non-public schools to receive equitable services in FY25, so please make sure to pass on the information as well as the Zoom link for the training to your non-public school partners. We look forward to seeing you all there!

Title IA Summer Reallocated Application

Districts seeking Title IA Reallocated funding to facilitate summer programming will have an opportunity to apply for Title IA Summer Reallocated funds. Jess Caron and Rita Pello will host a basic, informational session about the application on Tuesday, March 5 at 9 AM. We will send out a message through Grants4ME with the link to join that zoom training, as well as more information about the application process and timeline.

As a reminder, these funds are only to be used at Title I schools with Title I students. If a district is looking to run more robust programs, please consider applying for the ARP/ESSER Summer Enrichment in lieu of Title IA Reallocated (as there are may be limited funds available.)

Maine’s Model of School Support

Information related to Maine’s Model of School Support remains unavailable until the Maine Department of Education (DOE) receives final USDOE amendment approval and once finalized and provided, Maine DOE staff will reach out to schools identified for additional support.

Tentative Date for Maine’s Model of School Supports Notification is February 26 to March 1, 2024.

Winter Monitoring: Next Steps

In the next few days, Regional Program Managers will be sending out notifications that winter monitoring items have been reviewed. Districts will have to log back in and click “LEA Results Review Started” to view the results and will have two weeks to resubmit items if they did not meet requirements after the first round. Remember that for items that “Meets with Recommendations” districts must check the box indicating that they read the final comments to complete the collection cycle.

Please reach out to your RPM if you have any questions or visit our website for more information on our monitoring process and items.

FISCAL CORNER

Federal Fiscal Office Hours

Do you have a question for the Federal Fiscal Team? Let us answer your questions at the next Federal Fiscal Office Hour, on February 29th at 10:00 am. Representatives from all Federal Programs will be on hand to answer your questions. This should be viewed as a one-stop shop for federal funds and fiscal responsibilities. Access the Professional Development Calendar link to register and put this hour on your calendars.

Temporary Holds for ESEA Funds

For SAUs that have long overdue submissions related to ESEA grant applications, performance reports, and/or monitoring response items, the ESEA Team has made the difficult decision to begin placing temporary holds on access to ESEA funding. The purpose of these temporary holds is to ensure that timely and adequate progress on overdue submissions is made by the impacted SAUs.

If a temporary hold has been placed on your SAU's access to ESEA funds, you will receive a notice from your Regional Program Manager through the Grants4ME system, as well as a system notification informing you of the temporary hold. These holds are specific to ESEA consolidated application funding and will remain in effect until the outstanding items from an SAU are received and approved by the Maine DOE. Questions regarding these holds and the work required to have them lifted should be directed to your Regional Program Manager. 

Invoice Backup

All invoices submitted in Grants4Me must be accompanied by a detailed expenditure report that aligns with your request.

Travel reimbursement requests require additional backup which must include the date of travel, name of the traveler, reason for travel (conference registration), and a reimbursement voucher request that reflects the district's written travel reimbursement policy. When splitting invoices for expenses such as purchased services, travel, and supplies, it is important to include the invoices or receipts as well as mark the expenditure report.

Please don’t include documents that do not pertain to the request.

Budget

When considering using a specific grant to pay for a contractual agreement, keep in mind that the contract must be signed (obligated) and all work completed within the period of performance for the grant. During budget season, the business manager should communicate with the program specialist to decide which grant is available to cover budgeted costs.

Open Grants

The following chart includes ESEA federal grants that are currently open to access funds. Please note that several grants will close this year.

Grant                                                             Period of Performance

FY 22 ESEA Consolidated Funds

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

FY 23 ESEA Consolidated Funds

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

FY 23 Tier III School Improvement Funds

9/1/22 – 9/30/24

FY 24 ESEA Consolidated

Substantial Approval – 9/30/25

FY 24 Tier III School Improvement

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

2023-2024 21st CCLC Grant Awards

7/1/23 – 6/30/24

 

Non-Publics

Reimbursement for Equitable Services

The public SAU must always maintain control of funds. For additional information, here is a link to the latest guidelines provided by the US Department of Education. The public SAU cannot pay the nonpublic entity directly for allowable expenses.

 

Splitting Invoices

When invoicing for like services from year to year, use old funds first for relatable expenses. If you need to split an invoice for a billing period to use up old funds, please provide details on the trial balance.

Expenses can be split between two grant years if the following are true:

Expenses are allocable to both grant year applications. Expenses fall within the period of performance for both grant years. Trial balances note the intention to split the request. Salaries and benefits are split proportionately.
  • The only time it is acceptable to submit an invoice for only benefits is if tuition reimbursement is paid directly to the employee as a benefit of employment.
  • Avoid submitting invoices for salaries and benefits separately; they must accompany one another on the invoice.

 

Splitting invoices should happen to draw down all available funds from the oldest grant and bill the remaining expenses to the next year’s grant.

Avoiding Payment Delays

Some payment delays are avoidable; one reason payments are delayed is due to rejected invoices.

  • Avoid submitting backup that includes quotes, amazon order details “Not Yet Shipped”, and credit card machine receipts without details (itemized expenses).
  • Avoid asking for reimbursement for expenses outside of the period of period of performance.
  • Avoid asking for reimbursement for gift card purchases.
  • Be aware of obligation dates and the risk of the date falling outside of the period of performance.
  • Avoid delays with timely submissions of monitoring items, performance reports, and applications.

Communication with Maine DOE, all invoicing questions and concerns for ESEA should be directed to our Management Analyst, Tyra Corson at tyra.corson@maine.gov.

 

 

January 2024
GENERAL & TITLE-SPECIFIC UPDATES

Saying Goodbye is Never Easy

It is with bittersweet feelings that I let you all know that I am retiring as the ESEA Federal Programs Director effective after January 5, 2024, to provide more personal care for my aging parents. It has been my privilege and honor to serve in this capacity over the past three and a half years. I am confident that you will continue to receive the necessary support and guidance from the ESEA Team in my absence. You will be informed when a new ESEA Federal Programs Director has picked up the reigns. ~Cheryl Lang

Title IA Comparability

Section 1118(c) of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)/Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires that school administrative units (SAUs) with multiple attendance areas maintain comparability of local/state resources between the Title I schools and the non-Title I schools; or if all the schools at a grade span are Title I schools, comparability of local resources must be maintained among the Title I schools.

The ESEA Title I Comparability Report for FY24 has been automated and will be produced by the Maine Department of Education using the NEO certified October 1, 2023, student enrollment and December 1, 2023, instructional staff counts in the data warehouse. As the FY24 Comparability reports and data are reviewed and accepted by the ESEA Team in January, a copy of the report and backup documentation will be forwarded to the Superintendent of Schools and the ESEA Coordinator by the end of February. These documents should be reviewed, and any questions should be directed to your ESEA regional program manager. This documentation must be maintained by each district, as it is one of the required documents for the Single Audit Process.

If it is determined that comparability is not met, an ESEA Regional Program Manager will be contacting the SAU’s ESEA Coordinator for additional information and data to finalize the determination and next steps.

Fall Assessment and Accountability School Identifications

Last May, SAUs were notified of the identification of schools in the district per our Accountability Model as required by the USDOE for the following statuses:  Additional Targeted Supports & Improvement (ATSI-Tier I), Targeted Supports & Improvement (TSI-Tier II), Comprehensive Supports & Improvement (CSI-Tier III) utilizing 2021-2022 Assessment Data.

Notifications also indicated that another round of identifications would be conducted in late fall utilizing 2022-2023 Assessment Data. We continue to work closely with the USDOE in approving an amendment to Maine’s Model of School Support Plan ensuring that our accountability model for school identifications provides additional supports where needed most and meets all statutory requirements. We will provide updated information as it becomes available.

Applying for Title I Schoolwide Programming

Are you a Title I school with a targeted program? Are you interested in applying for schoolwide but are not sure how? The Schoolwide Program application process is rooted in the completion of the Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) (the Schoolwide Plan) for the specific school(s) seeking schoolwide programming.

If a school is thinking about applying for Title I Schoolwide Authority, it was recommended that the school begin planning at least 6 to 9 months prior to the submission. Use this guidance document to understand the entirety of the process for creating a schoolwide plan.

Schoolwide plans for the 24-25 school year are due by July 1. 

Fall Monitoring Results Now Available

Access to ESEA funds for specific SAUs will be put on hold for SAUs that have not successfully finalized fall monitoring submissions as required. If you have questions or need support in navigating the ESEA Monitoring Instrument to complete your submission, please reach out to your Regional Program Manager for assistance.

Title III: Consortia, Supplement, Not Supplant, Immigrant Children and Youth Update

For SAUs that are interested in forming a consortium to be eligible for a Title III allocation for the upcoming school year, the option will now be made available in the FY25 ESEA Consolidated Application. We will be seeking additional information from interested SAUs by April 1, 2024. More information will be coming soon. 

In the recent audit by the U.S. Department of Education regarding Title III Supplement, Not Supplant, it was brought to Maine DOE’s attention that endorsements or certifications that are mandatory cannot be funded utilizing Title III, Part A funds.

In the recent audit by the U.S. Department of Education, it was also brought to MDOE’s attention for the need to be transparent in the process used to award the Immigrant Children and Youth subgrant under Title III, Part A. More specifically, the terminology “significant increase” needed to be clearly defined.  MDOE has defined a “significant increase” as an SAU that has an average of more than 10 immigrant students in the prior two school years and has seen at least a 200% increase in immigrant students in the current year.

Any questions related to Title III can be directed to Daniel Weeks, Title III Coordinator, at daniel.r.weeks@maine.gov 

 

FISCAL CORNER

Federal Fiscal Office Hours

The Maine DOE is implementing monthly Federal Fiscal Office Hours for all Business Managers as well as Program Managers. The next meeting is on January 25th at 10:00 am. We plan to have representatives from all Federal Programs on hand to answer your questions. This should be viewed as a one-stop shop for federal funds and fiscal responsibilities. Access the Professional Development Calendar link to register and put this hour on your calendars.

Invoice Backup

All invoices submitted in Grants4Me must be accompanied by a detailed expenditure report that aligns with your request. Travel reimbursement requests need additional backup which must include the date of travel, name of the traveler, reason for travel (conference registration), and a reimbursement voucher request that reflects the district's written travel reimbursement policy. When splitting invoices for expenses such as purchased services, travel, and supplies, it is important to include the invoices or receipts as well as mark the expenditure report. Please do not include backup documents that do not pertain to the request.

When considering using a specific grant to pay for a contractual agreement, keep in mind that the contract must be signed (obligated) and all work completed within the period of performance for the grant. During budget season, the business manager should communicate with the program specialist to decide which grant is available to cover budgeted costs.

The following chart includes ESEA federal grants that are currently open to access funds. Please note that several grants will close this year.

Grant                                                             Period of Performance

FY 22 ESEA Consolidated Funds

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

FY 23 ESEA Consolidated Funds

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

FY 23 Tier III School Improvement Funds

9/1/22 – 9/30/24

FY 24 ESEA Consolidated

Substantial Approval – 9/30/25

FY 24 Tier III School Improvement

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

2023-2024 21st CCLC Grant Awards

7/1/23 – 6/30/24

 

Non-Publics

Reimbursement for Equitable Services

The public SAU must always maintain control of funds. For additional information, here is a link to the latest guidelines provided by the US Department of Education. The public SAU cannot pay the nonpublic entity directly for allowable expenses.

Splitting Invoices

When invoicing for like services from year to year, use old funds first for relatable expenses. If you need to split an invoice for a billing period to use up old funds, please provide details on the trial balance.

Expenses can be split between two grant years if the following are true:

  • Expenses are allocable to both grant year applications.
  • Expenses fall within the period of performance for both grant years.
  • Trial balances note the intention to split the request.
  • Salaries and benefits are split proportionately.
  • The only time it is acceptable to submit an invoice for only benefits is if tuition reimbursement is paid directly to the employee as a benefit of employment.
  • Avoid submitting invoices for salaries and benefits separately; they must accompany one another on the invoice.

Best practice is to submit invoices for the same service period, for example, if you are asking for reimbursement for a service period 4/1/23 - 6/30/23 against the FY22 grant. There are not enough funds to cover the expenses, but the expenses are eligible for reimbursement under the FY23 grant. Use the same service period to request the remaining expenses from the FY23 grant.

Splitting invoices should happen to draw down all available funds from the oldest grant and bill the remaining expenses to the next year’s grant.

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING CALENDAR

Professional Learning offered through the Department of Education is a fantastic resource for supporting leadership development for administrators and educators. The Department’s professional development calendar is updated regularly with the latest professional development opportunities.

TYPICAL TURNAROUND TIME

We strive for effective, efficient, transparent, and collaborative communication. The following document outlines the best practices for optimal communication with the Department of Federal Programs.

Giving your regional program manager an appropriate amount of time to respond before reaching out to another ESEA Team Member allows us to maintain these best practices. Thank you for your help with this.

We will continue to work to strengthen areas of support by utilizing the ones that are most effective and efficient, so we can continue to provide you with strong customer service collectively and individually.

December 2023

GENERAL & TITLE-SPECIFIC UPDATES

Fall Assessment and Accountability School Identifications

Last May, SAUs were notified of the identification of schools in the district per our Accountability Model as required by the USDOE for following statuses:  Additional Targeted Supports & Improvement (ATSI-Tier I), Targeted Supports & Improvement (TSI-Tier II), Comprehensive Supports & Improvement (CSI-Tier III) utilizing 2021-2022 Assessment Data.

Notifications also indicated that another round of identifications would be conducted in late fall utilizing 2022-2023 Assessment Data. We are working closely with the USDOE in approving an amendment to our Maine’s Model of School Support Plan ensuring that our accountability model for school identifications provides additional supports where needed most and meets all statutory requirements. We will provide updated information as it becomes available.

FY23 Performance Report and FY21 Closeout

All FY23 ESEA Performance Report pages were due in Grants4ME on Nov. 1st. To begin the Performance Report, the district must first change the status of the FY23 application to “Revision Started.” Once that status change occurs, several pages will populate with the application that are labeled “PERFORMANCE REPORT:___.”  

Once all “PERFORMANCE REPORT” pages have been completed, the status of the application will need to be changed to “Revision Completed.” From there, it will follow the same review and signature workflow as the application before being received by MDOE for review.

Performance Reports cannot be certified by MDOE as accurate until all invoicing for the district has been completed for expenditures through 9/30/23. Invoicing for FY23 ESEA funds for service periods after 9/30/23 will not be approved until the Performance Report is completed and approved. 

Districts will need to make one final revision to their FY21 ESEA applications, updating all the project expenditures, so the grant can be closed out. These project expenditures should align with invoiced totals.

Title I: 15% Carryover Rule 
Maine received a waiver for the Title I, Part A 15% Carryover rule for FY23 funds.

  • If an LEA takes a waiver for FY23, then they will not be eligible for another one for 3 years (FY26).

  • If an LEA has a Title IA allocation of less than $50,000, there is no carryover restriction.

  • If the LEA is eligible and wishes to apply for the waiver, please indicate so within the FY23 Performance Report under the page title “PERFORMANCE REPORT: Title I, Part A, Waiver.”

Title III: Consortia, Supplement, Not Supplant, Immigrant Children and Youth Update

For SAUs that are interested in forming a consortium to be eligible for a Title III allocation for the upcoming school year, the option will now be made available in the FY25 ESEA Consolidated Application. We will be seeking additional information from interested SAUs by April 1, 2024. More information will be coming soon. 

In the recent audit by the U.S. Department of Education regarding Title III Supplement, Not Supplant, it was brought to Maine DOE’s attention that endorsements or certifications that are mandatory cannot be funded utilizing Title III, Part A funds.

In the recent audit by the U.S. Department of Education, it was also brought to MDOE’s attention for the need to be transparent in the process used to award the Immigrant Children and Youth subgrant under Title III, Part A. More specifically, providing the definition of a “significant increase”.  MDOE has defined a “significant increase” as an SAU that has an average of more than 10 immigrant students in the prior two school years and has seen at least a 300% increase in immigrant students in the current year.

Any questions related to Title III can be directed to Daniel Weeks, Title III Coordinator, at daniel.r.weeks@maine.gov 

FISCAL CORNER

Federal Fiscal Office Hours

The Maine DOE is implementing monthly Federal Fiscal Office Hours for all Business Managers as well as Program Managers. The next meeting is on December 28th at 10:00 am. We will have representatives from all Federal Programs on hand to answer your questions. This should be viewed as a one-stop shop for federal funds and fiscal responsibilities. Access the Professional Development Calendar link to register and put this hour on your calendars.

FY21 Funds

If you have FY 21 funds and have obligated expenses before September 30, 2023, time is running out to invoice for these expenses. The liquidation period for all unpaid expenditures for FY 21 funds is October 1, 2023, through December 30, 2023.

This also holds true if you are the recipient of Tier III School Improvement Funds for FY22.

Obligations for upcoming professional development, travel, and tuition reimbursement are no longer a possibility for these funds. For example, the SAU registered for professional development in September for an October conference, this expense is not eligible for reimbursement under FY 21 ESEA funds or Tier III School Improvement Funds for the FY22 grant.

After the Fact

Several types of expenses cannot be reimbursed until after the fact. The most common are:

  • Travel – airfare, lodging, meals, registration fees
  • Tuition – after successful completion of the class
  • Salaries and benefits – after being earned and paid out at the local level
  • Consultation Agreements – after the service has been rendered

When considering using a specific grant to pay for a contractual agreement, keep in mind that the contract must be signed (obligated) and all work completed within the period of performance for the grant. During budget season, the business manager should communicate with the program specialist to decide which grant is available to cover budgeted costs.

Grant                                                             Period of Performance

FY 21 ESEA Consolidated Funds

Substantial Approval – 9/30/23

FY 22 ESEA Consolidated Funds

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

FY 22 Tier III School Improvement Funds

9/1/21 – 9/30/23

FY 23 ESEA Consolidated Funds

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

FY 23 Pilot Innovative Grant

9/1/22 – 9/30/23

FY 23 Tier III School Improvement Funds

9/1/22 – 9/30/24

FY 23 Title IA Summer Reallocation

5/1/23 – 9/30/23

FY 24 ESEA Consolidated

Substantial Approval – 9/30/25

FY 24 Tier III School Improvement

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

2023-2024 21st CCLC Grant Awards

7/1/23 – 6/30/24

 

Non-Publics

Reimbursement for Equitable Services

The public SAU must always maintain control of funds. For additional information,  here is a link to the latest guidelines provided by the US Department of Education. The public SAU cannot pay the nonpublic entity directly for allowable expenses.

Q1. When is it appropriate to pay the nonpublic directly for equitable services?

A1. Never

(ESEA section 8501(d)(1))

(d) PUBLIC CONTROL OF FUNDS— (1) IN GENERAL—The control of funds used to provide services under this section, and title to materials, equipment, and property purchased with those funds, shall be in a public agency for the uses and purposes provided in this Act, and a public agency shall administer the funds and property. (2) PROVISION OF SERVICES — (A) IN GENERAL —The provision of services under this section shall be provided— (i) by employees of a public agency; or (ii) through contract by the public agency with an individual, association, agency, organization, or other entity. (B) INDEPENDENCE; PUBLIC AGENCY — In the provision of those services, the employee, person, association, agency, organization, or other entity shall be independent of the private school and of any religious organization, and the employment or contract shall be under the control and supervision of the public agency. (C) COMMINGLING OF FUNDS PROHIBITED — Funds used to provide services under this section shall not be commingled with non-Federal funds.

Q2.  May ESEA funds be used to pay stipends to private school staff who participate in services and activities funded by covered ESEA programs?

A2. Yes. ESEA funds may be used to pay for stipends for private school staff, if reasonable and necessary (e.g., time outside regular employment hours). An LEA must pay such stipends directly to the private school staff and not to the private school. (ESEA section 8501(d)(1))

 

Splitting Invoices

Expenses can be split between two grant years if the following are true:

  • Expenses must be allocable to both grant year applications
  • Expenses must fall within the period of performance for both grant years
  • Trial balances need to be noted of the intention to split the request
  • Salaries and benefits need to be split proportionately

The only time it is acceptable to submit an invoice for only benefits is if tuition reimbursement is paid directly to the employee as a benefit of employment.

Best practice is to submit invoices for the exact same service period, for example, you are asking for reimbursement for a service period 4/1/23-6/30/23 against the FY22 grant. There are not enough funds to cover the expenses, but the expenses are eligible for reimbursement under the FY23 grant. Use the same service period to request the remaining expenses from the FY23 grant.

November 2023

GENERAL & TITLE-SPECIFIC UPDATES

FY23 Performance Report and FY21 Closeout

All FY23 ESEA Performance Report pages are now due in Grants4ME. To begin the Performance Report, the district must first change the status of the FY23 application to “Revision Started.” Once that status change occurs, several pages will populate with the application that are labeled “PERFORMANCE REPORT:___.”  

Once all “PERFORMANCE REPORT” pages have been completed, the status of the application will need to be changed to “Revision Completed.” From there, it will follow the same review and signature workflow as the application before being received by MDOE for review.

Performance Reports cannot be certified by MDOE as accurate until all invoicing for the district has been completed for expenditures through 9/30/23. Invoicing for FY23 ESEA funds for service periods after 9/30/23 will not be approved until the Performance Report is completed and approved. 

Districts will need to make one final revision to their FY21 ESEA applications, updating all the project expenditures, so the grant can be closed out. These project expenditures should align with invoiced totals.

FY23 Performance Report Feedback

To view the FY23 ESEA Performance Report feedback, head to the Consultant Checklist page that's listed on the Sections page. You will want to be sure to press the plus button (highlighted in the orange box below) to see the feedback for each individual item.

Fall Monitoring Results Now Available and Next Steps due 11/30

The ESEA team has completed its initial review of Monitoring Items for the Fall window. To view the monitoring findings, please go to the Monitoring Instrument in Grants4ME and change the status to "LEA Results Review Started."

Then, navigate to the "Monitoring Results - LEA Response" page to review feedback related to each monitoring item and any action steps that may be required. The following statuses have been given to each item submitted: Meets, Meets with Recommendations, and Does Not Meet. Please note that “yellow” and “red” items require further action steps. The deadline for the action steps is 11/30. Any item that was deemed to be not applicable will not appear on this page.

For further information on what each status means, please see the definitions handout on our website. The general training video (with spring items NOT fall) is there if you want to visually see what this looks like in the Grants4ME instrument.

FY23 Title I Summer Reallocated Application: Performance Report was Due 10/15

The deadline for the FY23 Title I Summer Reallocation Performance Report was 10/15. Please complete invoicing and the Performance Report ASAP. Please reach out to Rita.Pello@maine.gov if you have any questions.

Title IIA and Professional Development

Section 8101 of ESSA requires that any professional development paid for with ESEA funds be evidence-based as well as “sustained (not stand-alone, 1-day, or short-term workshops), intensive, collaborative, job embedded, data-driven, and classroom-focused.” The US Department of Education has drawn our attention to the fact that some common uses of Title IIA funds in Maine, such as paying for conferences and 1-day workshops, are not allowable on their own.

At the very least, to be allowable those expenses need to be part of larger, more systematic efforts by the SAU to address their high needs areas and/or part of a larger professional growth plan for the participating educator. As you consider the best ways to utilize your funds, please keep this in mind.

 

FISCAL CORNER

Federal Fiscal Office Hours

The Maine DOE is implementing monthly Federal Fiscal Office Hours for all Business Managers as well as Program Managers beginning with the first meeting, November 30th at 10:00am.  We will have representatives from all Federal Programs on hand to answer your questions. This should be viewed as a one-stop shop for federal funds and fiscal responsibilities. Access the Professional Development Calendar link to register and put this hour on your calendars.

FY21 Funds

The liquidation period for all unpaid expenditures for FY 21 funds is October 1, 2023, through December 30, 2023.

This also holds true if you are the recipient of Tier III School Improvement Funds for FY22.

Obligations for upcoming professional development, travel, and tuition reimbursement are no longer a possibility for these funds. For example, the SAU registered for professional development in September for an October conference, this expense is not eligible for reimbursement under FY 21 ESEA funds or Tier III School Improvement Funds for the FY22 grant.

Substantial Approval

The date of substantial approval for any given fiscal year is the date the ESEA application is submitted in substantially approvable form. Substantial approval is granted after a review of the application to confirm that basic requirements are met, and projects and budgets are reasonable and allowable for all applicable ESEA funding streams (all items are labeled for Substantial Approval and in the top half of the Consultant Checklist).

Please note, the date of Substantial Approval is not necessarily the first date an application is submitted, as applications are sometimes submitted that do not meet those requirements and therefore cannot be granted substantial approval. The status of the application can always be noted in the History Log, as well as in the email notifications sent automatically by Grants4ME. The ESEA team prioritizes applications that are working towards substantial approval, and we advise SAUs to do the same.

34 CFR 76.708 When certain subgrantees may begin to obligate funds

                 Grant                                                                   Period of Performance

FY 21 ESEA Consolidated Funds

Substantial Approval – 9/30/23

FY 22 ESEA Consolidated Funds

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

FY 22 Tier III School Improvement Funds

9/1/21 – 9/30/23

FY 23 ESEA Consolidated Funds

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

FY 23 Pilot Innovative Grant

9/1/22 – 9/30/23

FY 23 Tier III School Improvement Funds

9/1/22 – 9/30/24

FY 23 Title IA Summer Reallocation

5/1/23 – 9/30/23

FY 24 ESEA Consolidated

Substantial Approval – 9/30/25

FY 24 Tier III School Improvement

Substantial Approval – 9/30/24

2023-2024 21st CCLC Grant Awards

7/1/23 – 6/30/24

 

Non-Publics

Reimbursement for Equitable Services

The public SAU must always maintain control of Efunds. For additional information, here is a link to the latest guidelines provided by the US Department of Education.

Q1. When is it appropriate to pay the nonpublic directly for equitable services?

A1. Never

(ESEA section 8501(d)(1))

(d) PUBLIC CONTROL OF FUNDS— (1) IN GENERAL—The control of funds used to provide services under this section, and title to materials, equipment, and property purchased with those funds, shall be in a public agency for the uses and purposes provided in this Act, and a public agency shall administer the funds and property. (2) PROVISION OF SERVICES — (A) IN GENERAL —The provision of services under this section shall be provided— (i) by employees of a public agency; or (ii) through contract by the public agency with an individual, association, agency, organization, or other entity. (B) INDEPENDENCE; PUBLIC AGENCY — In the provision of those services, the employee, person, association, agency, organization, or other entity shall be independent of the private school and of any religious organization, and the employment or contract shall be under the control and supervision of the public agency. (C) COMMINGLING OF FUNDS PROHIBITED — Funds used to provide services under this section shall not be commingled with non-Federal funds.

Q2.  May ESEA funds be used to pay stipends to private school staff who participate in services and activities funded by covered ESEA programs?

A2. Yes. ESEA funds may be used to pay for stipends for private school staff, if reasonable and necessary (e.g., time outside regular employment hours). An LEA must pay such stipends directly to the private school staff and not to the private school. (ESEA section 8501(d)(1))

Splitting Invoices

Expenses can be split between two grant years if the following are true:

  • Expenses must be allocable to both grant year applications
  • Expenses must fall within the period of performance for both grant years
  • Trial balances need to be noted of the intention to split the request
  • Salaries and benefits need to be split proportionately

Best practice is to submit invoices for the exact same service period, for example, you are asking for reimbursement for a service period 4/1/23-6/30/23 against the FY22 grant. There are not enough funds to cover the expenses, but the expenses are eligible for reimbursement under the FY23 grant. Use the same service period to request the remaining expenses from the FY23 grant.

MTSS OFFICE HOURS

MTSS office hours take place weekly on Tuesdays from 3:30-4:30 and is an open discussion format to bring educators together to discuss all things MTSS. While there is no agenda, participants will often bring a problem of practice that we have an opportunity to help them work through. I’ll also provide any upcoming PD opportunities to be looking out for, and more.  You can come for the whole hour or for just a few minutes. You can register here. Hope to see you there!

October 2023

GENERAL AND TITLE-SPECIFIC UPDATES

Welcome our new Continuous School Improvement Coordinator

We are excited to welcome Dr. Monique Sullivan as our new Continuous School Improvement Coordinator. Monique is an experienced educator with over 20 years in public education as both a classroom teacher and school administrator spanning grades Pk-12, including urban and rural settings. Prior roles at the Maine DOE include Title I Program Coordinator, ARP ESSER III Coordinator, and ESEA Regional Manager. 

FY23 Performance Report is Now Available

All FY23 ESEA Performance Report pages are now available in Grants4ME. To begin the Performance Report, the district must first change the status of the FY23 application to “Revision Started.”  

Once that status change occurs, several pages will populate with the application that are labeled “PERFORMANCE REPORT:__________.”  

Once all “PERFORMANCE REPORT” pages have been completed, the status of the application will need to be changed to “Revision Completed.” From there, it will follow the same review and signature workflow as the application before being received by MDOE for review. Once reviewed, notes on any necessary corrections will be made on the Consultant Checklist.  

FY23 Performance Reports are due November 1, 2023. Performance Reports cannot be certified by MDOE as accurate until all invoicing for the district has been completed for expenditures through 9/30/23. Invoicing for FY23 ESEA funds for service periods after 9/30/23 will not be approved until the Performance Report is completed and approved. 

There are a few minor changes to the FY23 Performance Reports we want to make folks aware of. First, you should notice the goals the district originally set in the FY23 application now auto-populate on the “PERFORMANCE REPORT: District Profile Goals” and “PERFORMANCE REPORT: School Profile Goals” pages.

Also, for any district with a non-public, please take note of the updated Non-Public Reconciliation page for this year.

Next, for districts that receive Title IVA there is now a page titled, “PERFORMANCE REPORT: Title IV, Part A Supplemental Data” that needs to be completed.

Lastly, districts will need to make a final revision to their FY21 ESEA applications, updating all of the project expenditures so the grant can be closed out. These project expenditures should align with invoiced totals.

Trainings for Performance Report: 

Fall Monitoring Window is Now Open for Submissions

The FALL Monitoring Instrument is now open and ready for the submission of the required monitoring items. All items need to be uploaded to the Monitoring Instrument in Grants4ME by Friday, October 13, 2023.

If your monitoring status is a MEDIUM level of support needed, the items under the "medium" status need to be uploaded. If your monitoring status is a HIGH level of support needed, the items under both the "medium" and "high" statuses need to be uploaded. 
There is a Monitoring Guidance document, fact sheets for each monitoring item, and other resources located on our web page:  
ESEA Monitoring | Department of Education (maine.gov)


If you have any general questions or programmatic questions related to the monitoring requirements, please reach out to your regional program manager. If you have any fiscal-related questions, please reach out to our management analyst. 

Title I Summer Reallocated Application: Performance Report is Due 10/15
The Performance Report for the FY23 Title I Summer Reallocated Application is now OPEN.

To access the Performance Report, click “Revision Started” on the Sections Page. Then, the questions will appear on the page titled “Title I Summer School Performance Report”. To submit the report, please click “Revision Completed.” It will then go to the MDOE queue for review.

The deadline for Performance Report submission is October 15. Please complete invoicing prior to finalizing the Performance Report. If an extension is required, please reach out to Rita.Pello@maine.gov
 

Title IIA and Course Reimbursement

Title IIA funding may be used for course reimbursement that is designed to increase teacher and principal quality and is tied to the district or school’s area(s) of high needs. However, if an SAU has course reimbursement as a defined benefit in their teachers’ and/or principals’ contracts, they must first have exhausted all the SAU’s state & local funds allocated for this purpose to avoid supplanting.

Additionally, these funds are not reimbursed until after the course has been successfully completed. If the SAU has provisions in their policies or contracts that tie course reimbursement to their teacher’s and/or principal’s length of employment and need to exercise the provision reclaiming funds already reimbursed by the federal grant, the SAU must return the total amount reimbursed for the course(s) in question to MDOE.
 

FRIENDLY REMINDERS FOR PLANNING AND PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION

FISCAL CORNER

FY21 Funds

The period of performance for ESEA FY 21 funds ended on September 30, 2023. This was the last day that SAUs are allowed to obligate funds for that grant year. The expenditures must be allocable to the program and the SAU’s FY 21 application.

  • The liquidation period for all unpaid expenditures for FY 21 funds is October 1, 2023, through December 30, 2023.
  • This also holds true if you are the recipient of Tier III School Improvement Funds for FY22.
  • Please submit invoices as soon as possible to aid in closing out the grant.

Substantial Approval

The date of substantial approval for any given fiscal year is the date the ESEA application is submitted in substantially approvable form. Substantial approval is granted after a review of the application to confirm that basic requirements are met, and projects and budgets are reasonable and allowable for all applicable ESEA funding streams (all items are labeled for Substantial Approval and in the top half of the Consultant Checklist).

Please note, the date of Substantial Approval is not necessarily the first date an application is submitted, as applications are sometimes submitted that do not meet those requirements and therefore cannot be granted substantial approval. The status of the application can always be noted in the History Log, as well as in the email notifications sent automatically by Grants4ME. The ESEA team prioritizes applications that are working towards substantial approval, and we advise SAUs to do the same.

34 CFR 76.708 When certain subgrantees may begin to obligate funds

Obligations

With budget and planning season in full swing, the ESEA Team wants to remind SAUs of some important considerations when obligations are made. Obligations should not be made prior to the substantial approval date for ESEA Consolidated Application. If Pre-Award Costs have been approved, keep in mind this means the requested funds are available beginning on 7/1.

Caution:  If you have already signed a contract for services to be received for 2023-2024 school year, the contract is not eligible for reimbursement using FY 24 funds. Any contractual services should not be entered into until after the substantial approval date of your application.

The link below provides the regulations for obligations.

34 CFR 76.707 When obligations are made.

Travel Reimbursement

This is a reminder that travel expenses are not eligible for reimbursement until after the fact. These expenses include but are not limited to airfare, meals, lodging, mileage, registration fees, etc. If the SAU has a written travel reimbursement policy that is based on actual costs, then the receipts must be included with the reimbursement request.

The following is an example of receipts for meals that are not acceptable. Receipts for expenses must be itemized. Credit card machine authorization receipts are not itemized.

 

MTSS CORNER with Andrea Logan
MTSS Office Hours

MTSS office hours take place weekly on Tuesdays from 3:30-4:30 and is an open discussion format to bring educators together to discuss all things MTSS. While there is no agenda, participants will often bring a problem of practice that we have an opportunity to help them work through. I’ll also provide any upcoming PD opportunities to be looking out for, and more.  You can come for the whole hour or for just a few minutes. You can register here. Hope to see you there!

September 2023

GENERAL AND TITLE-SPECIFIC UPDATES

FY24 ESEA Federal Programs Monitoring Status

All monitoring statuses have been added to the FY24 Grant Award Notifications in Grants4ME. Please remember that monitoring statuses each year are derived from the Monitoring Status Guidance handout located at the following webpage: ESEA Monitoring | Department of Education (maine.gov)

There will be three collection and review timelines (Fall, Winter, Spring) for the MEDIUM and HIGH Monitoring Statuses. The fall monitoring collection and review is as follows:

  • Fall Submission Window:  9/29/23 - 10/13/23
  • Initial Submission Review: two weeks
  • Results & Corrective Actions Review – 30 days

Excess Carryover Waiver for FY23 Title I, Part A

The Maine Department of Education (MDOE) has received approval to grant a school administrative unit (SAU) a 15% excess carryover waiver for its FY2023 Title I, Part A funds, which will become carryover funds on October 1, 2023. Typically, a SAU can only carryover over 15% of Title I, Part A funds with a waiver, which can be granted once every three years as granted under section 1127(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  Absent this waiver from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE), a SAU who received a waiver in for FY21 or FY22 funds could not receive an additional waiver for FY23.

Please bear in mind that if a SAU receives a 15% Title I, Part A excess carryover waiver from the MDOE for FY23, the next time the SAU would be eligible to receive a 15% excess carryover waiver from the MDOE would be for its FY26 Title I, Part A funds (which would become carryover on October 1, 2026).

ESEA Tydings Amendment Waiver for FY22

Pursuant to the authority granted under section 8401(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Maine Department of Education (DOE) has received approval for a Tydings Amendment Waiver from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE).

Period of availability of funds in section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act extends the period of availability of FY 2022 funds for programs in which the State participates under its approved consolidated ESEA State plan until Sept. 30, 2024.

Title I Parent and Family Engagement Requirements

Parents Right to Know Letter

As part of Title I, Part A, districts and schools must implement important family engagement practices, including sending the “Parent’s Right to Know” within the first four weeks of school, which should be a letter containing the following information:

  • Professional qualifications of student’s teachers and paraprofessionals
  • State/local assessment policies

A sample Parent’s Right to Know can be found here. The letter can also be posted in the student handbook and/or on the district’s website.

Title I Annual Meeting

Section 1116(c) for family engagement requires each Title I school to convene an annual meeting, at a convenient time, to which all parents of Title I children shall be invited and encouraged to attend. Districts sometimes include a Title I presentation on the agenda at the Open House as part of the annual meeting requirement, but this requirement can surely be met in other ways. Essentially, the meeting should inform parents of their school’s participation in Title I, explain the requirements and services provided as part of Title I and discuss the rights of the parents to be involved.

In a Targeted Assistance Program, it is the parents of students who are served by Title I who are invited to the meeting. In a Schoolwide Program, it is all parents of all students attending the school who are invited to attend. This meeting is also a time for the school to explain what it means to be a targeted assistance or schoolwide program, how student supports are available for students, how the delivery of these supports will be implemented, and what other Title IA requirements, such as parent notices, policies, compacts, and other communications and expectations will be forthcoming. 

School-Parent Compacts

Title I family engagement policies/plan and school-parent compacts must be developed and updated annually with input from parents. This may be completed in the spring for the upcoming year or at the beginning of the school year. Districts should ensure that they have updated documents and can demonstrate that parents were involved in the update process.

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— 

  • 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
  • frequent reports to parents on their child(ren)’s progress
  • reasonable access to staff, opportunities to volunteer and participate in their child’s class, and observation of classroom activities; and 
  • 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

A sample school-parent compact can be found here.

Title I Summer Reallocated Application Update

The Performance Report for the FY23 Title I Summer Reallocated Application is now OPEN.

To access the Performance Report, click “Revision Started” on the Sections Page. Then, the questions will appear on the page titled “Title I Summer School Performance Report”. To submit the report, please click “Revision Completed.” It will then go to the MDOE queue for review. The deadline for Performance Report submission is October 15.

Relevant districts should have already received a message through Grants4ME with further details on the completion of the Performance Report. An additional message will be sent out in a few weeks as reminder.

Nonpublic Consultation and Documentation

For a district to receive substantial approval prior to the non-public completing the consultation form, the following standards must be met:

  • Communication needs to have been attempted at least three times over a one-month period
  • The final communication needs to be a certified letter with a clear due date at least one week after the letter is delivered.
  • We expect prior communications to the letter to be through at least two different means (an email and a phone call, for example)
  • The district would need to send evidence/logs of these attempts to the regional program manager.

FRIENDLY REMINDERS FOR PROGRAMMING AND IMPLEMENTATION

FISCAL CORNER

FY21 Funds

The ESEA FY 21 funds are due to expire on September 30, 2023. This is the last day that SAUs are allowed to obligate funds for that grant year. The expenditures must be allocable to the program and the SAU’s FY 21 application.

The liquidation period for all unpaid expenditures for FY 21 funds is October 1, 2023, through December 30, 2023.

Please submit invoices as soon as possible to aid in closing out the grant.

Substantial Approval

The date of substantial approval for any given fiscal year is the date the ESEA application is submitted in substantially approvable form. Substantial approval is granted after a review of the application to confirm that basic requirements are met, and projects and budgets are reasonable and allowable for all applicable ESEA funding streams (all items are labeled for Substantial Approval and in the top half of the Consultant Checklist).

Please note, the date of Substantial Approval is not necessarily the first date an application is submitted, as applications are sometimes submitted that do not meet those requirements and therefore cannot be granted substantial approval. The status of the application can always be noted in the History Log, as well as in the email notifications sent automatically by Grants4ME. The ESEA team prioritizes applications that are working towards substantial approval, and we advise SAUs to do the same.

34 CFR 76.708 When certain subgrantees may begin to obligate funds

Obligations

With budget and planning season in full swing, the ESEA Team wants to remind SAUs of some important considerations when obligations are made. Obligations should not be made prior to the substantial approval date for ESEA Consolidated Application. If Pre-Award Costs have been approved, keep in mind this means the requested funds are available beginning on 7/1.

Caution:  If you have already signed a contract for services to be received for 2023-2024 school year, the contract is not eligible for reimbursement using FY 24 funds. Any contractual services should not be entered into until after the substantial approval date of your application.

The link below provides the regulations for obligations.

34 CFR 76.707 When obligations are made.

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING CALENDAR

Professional Learning offered through the Department of Education is a fantastic resource for supporting leadership development for administrators and educators. The Department’s professional development calendar is updated regularly with the latest professional development opportunities.

August 2023

GENERAL & TITLE-SPECIFIC UPDATES

Carryover Percentage Waiver for FY23 Title I 
The state of Maine received approval to waive the 15% limit for Title I Carryover for FY23. Please keep in mind there is no guarantee that we will receive this waiver again, so this could affect the district’s ability to use the waiver within the next three years.

ESEA Tydings Amendment Waiver for FY22 

Pursuant to the authority granted under section 8401(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Maine Department of Education (DOE) has received approval for a Tydings Amendment Waiver from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE).

Period of availability of funds in section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act extends the period of availability of FY 2022 funds for programs in which the State participates under its approved consolidated ESEA State plan until Sept. 30, 2024.

FY24 ESEA Federal Programs Monitoring Status

All monitoring statuses are being added to the FY24 Grant Award Notifications within the next week. We will send out an eblast notification when it has been done. Please remember that monitoring statuses each year are derived from the Monitoring Levels Guidance handout located at the following webpage: ESEA Monitoring | Department of Education (maine.gov) 

FY24 ESEA Consolidated Application
Application Training Videos from last year are available as a refresher. A recorded training detailing FY24 funds is also up online.

For Co-ops Only -- Reminder: the district that is the Fiscal Agent needs to complete the FY24 ESEA Consolidated Application.

New Coordinator Training Videos
New coordinator training videos are on the ESEA State Resources page and could be a good refresher for new and seasoned coordinators alike.

ESEA Application Workflow in Grants4ME
As districts begin working on FY24 applications, a reminder to everyone is that an application is not considered submitted until it has been given the status of “LEA Authorized Representative Approved”, which means the following:

  • The ESEA Coordinator has changed the status to “Draft Completed”.
  • School project budget pages have been certified by the school principals.
  • The application has been reviewed and the status changed to “LEA Fiscal Representative Approved” by the business manager.
  • The application has been reviewed and the status changed to “LEA Authorized Representative Approved” by the Superintendent.

While we do work to provide reminders to SAUs when applications appear “stuck” somewhere in that workflow, we advise ESEA coordinators to do the same to ensure applications have successfully made it through the submission workflow in a timely manner and feedback can be provided.


Adding, Removing, and Changing User Access in Grants4ME

As a reminder, barring extraordinary circumstances, the district should only have one person in the role of LEA Authorized Representative (the Superintendent) and two people in the role of User Access administrator (usually the Superintendent and one other Central Office person). There should also be only one “LEA ESEA Consolidated Application Director,” with anyone else needing access to update the application given the role of “LEA ESEA Consolidated Application Update”.

It is the responsibility of the superintendent to keep the Grants4ME Address Book up to date with the assigned Users and Roles. For more information on how to add users and roles, please see this section of our training video on the platform or refer to the User Access Guide.

Help for Current Page

New help resources are available in Grants4ME!

 

Nonpublic Consultation and Documentation

For a district to receive substantial approval prior to the non-public completing the consultation form, the following standards must be met: 

  • Communication needs to have been attempted at least three times over a one-month period. 
  • The final communication needs to be a certified letter with a clear due date at least one week after the letter is delivered. 
  • Communications prior to the letter need to be through two different means (an email and a phone call, for example).
  • The district needs to send evidence/logs of these attempts to the regional program manager.


FRIENDLY REMINDERS FOR PLANNING AND PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION

FISCAL CORNER

FY21 Funds

The ESEA FY 21 funds are due to expire on September 30, 2023. This is the last day that SAUs are allowed to obligate funds for that grant year. The expenditures must be allocable to the program and the SAU’s FY 21 application.

The liquidation period for all unpaid expenditures for FY 21 funds is October 1, 2023, through December 31, 2023.

Please submit invoices as soon as possible to aid in closing out the grant.

Substantial Approval

The date of substantial approval for any given fiscal year is the date the ESEA application is submitted in substantially approvable form. Substantial approval is granted after a review of the application to confirm that basic requirements are met, and projects and budgets are reasonable and allowable for all applicable ESEA funding streams (all of these items are labeled for Substantial Approval and in the top half of the Consultant Checklist).

Please note, the date of Substantial Approval is not necessarily the first date an application is submitted, as applications are sometimes submitted that do not meet those requirements and therefore cannot be granted substantial approval. The status of the application can always be noted in the History Log, as well as in the email notifications sent automatically by Grants4ME. The ESEA team prioritizes applications that are working towards substantial approval, and we advise SAUs to do the same.

34 CFR 76.708 When certain subgrantees may begin to obligate funds

Obligations

With budget and planning season in full swing, the ESEA Team wants to remind SAUs of some important considerations when obligations are made. Obligations should not be made prior to the substantial approval date for ESEA Consolidated Application. If Pre-Award Costs have been approved, keep in mind this means the requested funds are available beginning on 7/1.

Caution, if you have already signed a contract for services to be received for 2023-2024 school year; the contract is not eligible for reimbursement using FY 24 funds. Any contractual services should not be entered into until after the substantial approval date of your application.

The link below provides the regulations for obligations.

34 CFR 76.707 When obligations are made.

 

Travel

Reimbursement for travel expenses is after the fact. Most SAUs register and book travel in advance for professional development conferences, but reimbursement cannot happen until after the conference has taken place and travel has been completed.

Possible funding streams that you may have available to pay for travel that has been booked for the summer of 2023 are:

  • FY 22 ESEA Consolidated
  • FY 23 ESEA Consolidated
  • FY 22 School Improvement
  • FY 23 School Improvement

Pre-Award Cost Requirements

If a district is looking to request pre-award costs for FY24, which would allow them to obligate FY24 funds as of 7/1/23, they need to complete the “Pre-Award Cost Request” page under the “Allocations” section in their ESEA application. SAUs must be specific with how much funding they are requesting pre-award access to, as well as provide a brief description of those funds. For pre-award cost requests to be approved, like all ESEA funds, they must be reasonable, necessary, and allocable. Additionally, the ESEA application must be initially submitted by the August 1st due date.

July 2023

Monitoring Update
We will be sending out FINAL notifications to all SAUs that were required to submit monitoring documentation during the Spring Submission window. The notifications will either be a successful closeout of the process, reminder of required submissions still pending from approved action plan, or next steps to secure appropriate close out. We are currently conducting a new Monitoring Selection Review for FY24, and the results will be documented on each SAUs FY24 Grant Award Notification (GAN).

Tydings Amendment Waiver
Pursuant to the authority granted under section 8401(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Maine Department of Education (DOE) has submitted an application for a Tydings Amendment Waiver to the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE). We will send out a notification when we receive a determination.

ESEA Application Workflow in Grants4ME
As districts begin working on FY24 applications, we wanted to remind everyone that an application is not considered submitted until it has been given the status of “LEA Authorized Representative Approved.” This means that:

  • The ESEA Coordinator has changed the status to “Draft Completed”.
  • School project budget pages have been certified by the school principals.
  • The application has been reviewed and the status changed to “LEA Fiscal Representative Approved” by the business manager.
  • The application has been reviewed and the status changed to “LEA Authorized Representative Approved” by the Superintendent.

While we do work to provide reminders to SAUs when applications appear “stuck” somewhere in that workflow, we advise ESEA coordinators to do the same to ensure applications have successfully made it through the submission workflow in a timely manner and feedback can be provided.

Adding, Removing, and Changing User Access in Grants4ME
As a reminder, barring extraordinary circumstances, the district should only have one person in the role of LEA Authorized Representative (the Superintendent) and two people in the role of User Access administrator (usually the Superintendent and one other Central Office person). There should also be only one “LEA ESEA Consolidated Application Director,” with anyone else needing access to update the application given the role of “LEA ESEA Consolidated Application Update”.

It is the responsibility of the superintendent to keep the Grants4ME Address Book up to date with the assigned Users and Roles. For more information on how to add users and roles, please see this section of our training video on the platform or refer to the User Access Guide.

SAUs with Title III and/or Title IV Allocations

Within the ESEA Consolidated Application located in Grants4ME, SAUs are reminded to visit the Allocations page under the Allocations section and allocate any Title III and/or Title IV funds the SAU has into the appropriate sub-categories for those programs.