The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is responsible for the oversight and monitoring of programs and activities carried out under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) requires that each state "adopt and use proper methods of administering each applicable program, including monitoring of agencies, institutions, and organizations responsible for carrying out each program." Monitoring procedures must be designed to promote the recipient's progress in achieving program goals and objectives; adherence to laws, regulations and assurances governing the program and conformity to the approved application, performance reports or other relevant documents. Likewise, Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) requires the SEA to monitor grants to assure compliance with applicable Federal requirements and that performance goals are being achieved.
The Maine DOE has adopted a consolidated approach to monitoring local education agencies (LEAs), both to ensure compliance with federal laws and to support the effective implementation of local programs. The following programs are included within Maine DOEs consolidated ESEA program monitoring: Title I, Part A; Title I, Part D; Title II, Part A; Title III, Part A; Title IV, Part A, Title V, and the McKinney Vento Act.
The ESEA Federal Programs Team at the Maine DOE is comprised of various representatives from each of the title programs. This team will continue to annually monitor LEAs for effective implementation of ESEA programs and compliance with applicable statutory requirements. Additionally, the team will utilize this process to provide meaningful technical assistance to those LEAs in need of additional supports.
There are three primary goals for Maine DOE's consolidated ESEA monitoring process:
To build relationships with district and school leaders; To ensure accountability to federal statute with a focus on support, not compliance; and To maximize use of resources to increase student achievement. Monitoring will cover requirements specific to Title IA, Title IIA, Title IIIA, Title IVA, Title V, and the McKinney Vento Act. The process will include questions and conversation of a more systemic nature, as it is expected that decisions on how title funds are expended are made within the framework of the districts submitted Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA)/SAU Consolidated Plan. The process is not intended to be an exhaustive review or to ensure compliance with every legal requirement. Rather, it is designed to verify compliance with major elements of the law as well as to assist the LEAs in improving student outcomes using federal dollars.
In this newly developed model, the ESEA Federal Programs Team will review the submission of various documents to ensure a meaningful review of each school's progress annually. The annual risk assessments for all ESEA federal programs will also assist in determining those LEAs that will receive an on-site visit. More information on what ESEA monitoring will look like in school year 2019-2020 and beyond will be forthcoming.
For some time now, school districts across the state have requested a more streamlined approach to the Department's process for monitoring the use of federal funding. The ESEA Federal Programs Team has been hard at work looking at ways to make this possible, to lessen the burden program monitoring has on local school districts. After spending the last year working to update our monitoring procedures and tools, we are pleased to announce that the ESEA Federal Programs and Special Services Teams will join in our efforts to monitor districts in 2019-2020. Our intention is that the consolidated monitoring reviews and in-person visits will lighten the burden placed on district staff by not having different Maine DOE staff members visiting your districts several times throughout the year. Our staff will continue to review the submission of various ESEA documents by local school districts to ensure various statutory requirements and ultimately the intent and purpose of each program is being met locally. Please know that we plan for these reviews and potential visits will still consist of meaningful discussion around the processes used and progress achieved annually. Our annual risk assessment process for all ESEA federal programs will also assist in determining those school districts that we will meet with in-person. The updated ESEA Monitoring Tool will be released in August 2019. School districts within our monitoring cohort for this coming school year will need to submit all requested documentation by December 2019. The list of districts that will be monitored during the 2019-20 school year is available here.