Commissioner's Update from the Maine Department of Education.
Maine DOE Commissioner's Update
January 24, 2013

A quick budget update: Jim Rier and I presented an Education Finance 101 lesson to the new Appropriations Committee last week and are following that up with a similar presentation today to the Education Committee. As you all know very well, education funding is complex, so before we delve into policy, it helps if we're all on the same page in terms of understanding how the system we have works. As part of today’s discussion, Jim will also touch on the proposal in the Governor’s budget to move a portion (about 14 percent) of teacher retirement costs into EPS and then add funds to GPA to cover about half that cost.

There continues to be a lot of misunderstanding about this piece. The state will continue to pay the vast majority of retirement-related costs. And most districts will end up paying less through this method, than if the State had reduced GPA by a similar amount. I encourage you to read more about the retirement piece. Full discussion of the biennial budget isn’t expected to begin until after the Appropriations Committee completes its work on the supplemental budget. We’re getting information prepared for when that happens, and we will share with you as soon as we can.

Stephen Bowen



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NEWS & VIEWS

Bridge Year program poised for growth

In the spring of 2014, fourteen Hermon High School students will graduate with a high school diploma, a year’s worth of college credits and the incentive to continue their education thanks to Hermon’s Bridge Year program, launched during the 2012-13 school year. | More | Bowen shares plans for five-year high school expansion

Students take MLTI’s RiceBowl Challenge to combat hunger

With hundreds of students from across Maine participating in the Maine Learning Technology Initiative’s annual RiceBowl Challenge, the success of the program is no surprise. MLTI partnered with freerice.com to launch the challenge and to encourage students to help end world hunger. | More

Soliciting input on Next Gen Science Standards

The second (and final) public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards was released Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 3 p.m. The Maine DOE, Achieve, and NSTA encourage teachers to review the draft and provide feedback to Achieve during the comment period, which ends Jan. 29. | More

Professional development series offered to world language teachers

A series of free workshops are being offered to world language teachers at the elementary, middle and high school levels for the remainder of the 2012-13 school year. | More

Piscataquis schools earn Healthier US School Challenge awards

Three Maine schools are receiving Healthier US School Challenge awards for their nutrition programs this week. | More

Oxford Hills Technical students compete in skills-specific demonstrations

Oxford Hills Technical School pre-engineering students Nicholas McNelly and Ian Lejonhud completed a computer simulation using programmable logic controllers in the school’s Skills Challenge on Jan. 10. | More

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Oxford Hills Technical School pre-engineering students Nicholas McNelly (left) and Ian Lejonhud complete a computer simulation using programmable logic controllers in the school's Skills Challenge on Jan. 10.
Oxford Hills Technical School pre-engineering students Nicholas McNelly (left) and Ian Lejonhud complete a computer simulation using programmable logic controllers in the school's Skills Challenge on Jan. 10. | More

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