2012 Legislation: IN COMMITTEE

LD 309: An Act To Make Voluntary Membership in a Public Employee Labor Organization in the State, Rep Winsor

    ...amends the State's labor laws to ensure that each public sector union represents only those public employees who voluntarily are members of that union. [Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development]

Latest Committee Action: EXT APPROVED, Jan 26, 2012

LD 513: RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To More Equitably Fund the Liabilities of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System, Senator Thomas Saviello

    ...proposes to amend the Constitution of Maine to remove the requirement that experience losses incurred by the Maine Public Employees Retirement System be retired in only 10 years and to change the required amortization schedule of unfunded liabilities from a fixed 31-year schedule to a so-called open or rolling 25-year schedule. {APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE]

Latest Committee Action: EXT APPROVED, Jan 13, 2012

LD 958: Resolve, To Direct the Department of Education To Review the Essential Programs and Services Model, Rep Johnson

    ...directs the Department of Education to have an independent agency not previously involved with the essential programs and services funding formula review the essential programs and services model to analyze the impact of its implementation on children from economically disadvantaged areas, the funding shifts experienced by small rural schools and the result of the regional salary adjustment variable and the economically disadvantaged student variable on the equity of the distribution of state aid to municipalities for education and to provide a report to the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs by December 1, 2011. The joint standing committee is authorized to submit a bill relating to the report to the Second Regular Session of the 125th Legislature. ...amendment replaces the resolve with a resolve that directs the Department of Education to enter into a contract for an independent review of the Essential Programs and Services Funding Act through a request for proposal process that awards a contract to a qualified research entity. The Department of Education is required to provide a report of the results of the independent review to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over education and cultural affairs by January 31, 2013. The joint standing committee is authorized to submit a bill relating to the report to the First Regular Session of the 126th Legislature. The amendment also adds an appropriations and allocations section.

Work session: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 1:00 PM,Room 202, Cross Building

LD 1003: An Act To Assist Maine Schools To Obtain Federal Funds for Medically Necessary Services, Rep. Edgecomb

    ... concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208. This bill proposes to increase school administrative units' access to federal Medicaid funding for medically necessary services provided by those school administrative units to special education students for whom those services are required under an individualized education plan adopted for the student and as part of a free and appropriate public education.

Latest Committee Action:VOTED, Mar 6, 2012, Ought to Pass as Amended

LD 1237: An Act To Prohibit Bullying in Schools, Representative Terry Morrison

    ...requires each school administrative unit to adopt, by August 15, 2012, a harassment, intimidation and bullying prevention policy based upon a model policy developed by the Commissioner of Education in conjunction with an advisory committee composed of representatives of parents, guardians, teachers, school employees, volunteers, students, administrators, community representatives, the Maine School Superintendents Association, the Maine Principals' Association and other interested parties. Harassment, intimidation and bullying prevention policies must be posted on the publicly accessible portions of the Department of Education's website and the respective school administrative unit's website.
    ...amendment is the majority report of the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs. It replaces the bill, which requires the Commissioner of Education to develop a model harassment, intimidation and bullying prevention policy and school administrative units to adopt a policy based on the model by August 15, 2012. The amendment defines "bullying" and "cyberbullying." It requires each school administrative unit to adopt a policy to address bullying, which must include an emphasis on consequences that include alternative discipline. It specifies responsibilities for reporting incidents of bullying and for implementing and enforcing the law and policies adopted by a school board.

Committee Report: Mar 6, 2012, Ought to Pass as Amended

LD 1422: An Act To Prepare Maine People for the Future Economy, Senator Brian Langley

    ...1. Establishes an education policy, core priorities for the State's education system, education system goals, benchmarks and intervention strategies; 2. Requires the development of a strategic plan to achieve the goals within the policy framework; 3. Requires that the state budget document present proposed expenditures on early childhood development, public education, adult education, higher education and workforce development in a manner that facilitates evaluation by the Legislature of whether funds are being appropriated and allocated in a manner that best accords with the established policy framework, advances the established goals and implements the strategic plan; 4. Requires that the Commissioner of Education adopt rules prescribing a uniform process for kindergarten screening in a manner that facilitates reliable and consistent measurement of statewide kindergarten readiness; 5. Requires school administrative units to award high school diplomas based on standards established by rule; and 6. Requires that, beginning with the class of 2015, students graduating from high schools demonstrate proficiency in the content areas of English language arts, mathematics, science and technology, social studies and health, physical education and wellness. Beginning with the class of 2018, students graduating from high schools must demonstrate proficiency in the content areas of career and education development; English language arts; world languages; health, physical education and wellness; mathematics; science and technology; social studies; and visual and performing arts.

Latest Committee Action: VOTED, Jan 24, 2012, Ought to Pass as Amended

LD 1437: An Act To Implement Recommendations on Reinventing Government, Senator Richard Woodbury

    ...oncept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208. This bill proposes to establish a process by which more profound changes in governance and public policy in Maine can be advanced and implemented. It is intended to accomplish the more fundamental system reforms that elude the traditional legislative process. [REFERRED to the Committee on LABOR, COMMERCE, RESEARCH AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT]

Latest Committee Action: VOTED, Feb 9, 2012, Ought to Pass as Amended

LD 1503: An Act To Promote School Attendance and Increase School Achievement, Senator Alfond

    ...implements the recommendations of the stakeholder group established by the Commissioner of Education pursuant to Public Law 2009, chapter 626. The charge provided to the stakeholder group was to develop methodologies and recommendations relating to increasing high school graduation rates and to address other policy issues pertaining to school expulsion, suspension, zero-tolerance practices and truancy in the State. The bill accomplishes the following. 1. It requires the Department of Education to obtain more accurate and complete data in calculating high school graduation rates. In addition to calculating the 4year adjusted cohort graduation rate required by the Federal Government, the department is required to collect and record graduation rates for a 5year cohort and a 6year cohort and also use other descriptors of academic success for school-age students on a statewide aggregate basis, including the Department of Education diploma, high school equivalency diploma obtained through adult education and the general equivalency diploma. 2. It changes the law regarding compulsory school age by reducing the age when a child must start school from 7 to 6 years of age and by increasing the age threshold under which a child who has not attained high school graduation or equivalency is expected to attend secondary school from 17 to 20 years of age. The bill also amends the exceptions to the compulsory school age requirements. 3. It amends the truancy laws by striking all references to "habitual" truancy. It changes the provisions for determining truancy and removes the requirement that local law enforcement be notified of a truant student. It describes response to intervention teams for schools and their duties, including assessing situations of student truancy and developing and helping implement intervention plans for truant students. 4. It clarifies provisions pertaining to the qualifications and role of school attendance coordinators and requires superintendents to appoint attendance coordinators. In current law, school attendance coordinators are elected. It establishes that the salary costs of attendance coordinators are eligible for state subsidy under the Essential Programs and Services Funding Act. 5. It directs school boards to review policies and procedures established for the code of conduct and school discipline, including provisions that encourage school boards to focus the code of conduct on positive intervention and expectations rather than unacceptable student behavior and to focus school disciplinary policies on evidence based positive and restorative interventions rather than set punishments for specific behavior. The bill also requires that schools provide notice to parents or legal guardians of a student's suspension regardless of whether it is an in school or out of school suspension and discourages the use of zero-tolerance practices in school discipline. 6. It establishes due process standards for school expulsion proceedings to inform students and their parents or legal guardians of the procedural steps involved in and of their legal rights prior to, during and following the due process hearing and provide an explanation of the consequences of expulsion. 7. It amends the laws regarding school expulsion to require that all students who have been expelled from school must be provided with a written reentry plan, developed by the superintendent in consultation with the student and the student's parents or legal guardian, that provides guidance to the expelled student regarding what the student must do to establish satisfactory evidence that the behavior that resulted in the expulsion will not likely recur. 8. It further amends the laws regarding school expulsion to authorize school boards to provide educational services to an expelled student in an alternative setting. 9. The bill also provides for an ongoing appropriation of funds to the Department of Education to disburse to school administrative units that request funding for providing appropriate interventions to students who are at risk of becoming truants or dropouts due to an expulsion from school or who struggle with mental health and substance abuse issues. ...amendment makes the following changes to the bill. 1. It strikes the definition of "response to intervention team" and all uses of the term from the bill and replaces it with references to a student assistance team or the school personnel designated by the superintendent in accordance with the system of intervention established by the school administrative unit in accordance with the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20‑A, section 4710. 2. It amends the due process standards proposed for school expulsion proceedings by removing the provisions pertaining to a student's right to appeal the decision of the school board to the Superior Court within 30 days. 3. It amends the provision that requires a reentry plan to be developed for a student who has been expelled by a school board by providing that: A. The reentry plan may require the student to take reasonable measures determined by the superintendent to be helpful to establish the student's readiness to return to school; B. The expelled student's parents or guardian are responsible for the cost of any professional services necessary to establish the student's readiness to return to school under the reentry plan; and C. For a child with a disability who is expelled by a school board, the superintendent may, as necessary, provide the reentry plan to the student's individualized education program team. 4. It strikes the provision that requires a school board to use suspensions and expulsions only as a last resort when taking disciplinary action against a student who has violated the school administrative unit's student code of conduct. 5. It amends the changes to the compulsory school age statutes by reducing the age threshold under which a child who has not attained high school graduation or equivalency is expected to attend secondary school from 20 to 18 years of age. The amendment also makes technical changes to clarify the exceptions to the compulsory school age requirements. 6. It strikes the proposed changes to the truancy laws that would have counted excused absences, as well as unexcused absences, towards the number of days of absences that would determine when a student is truant. 7. It strikes procedural provisions proposed in the bill and makes technical changes to clarify the role of superintendents, principals, attendance coordinators and the student assistance team or other systems of intervention established by the school administrative unit pertaining to assessing situations of student truancy and developing and implementing intervention plans for truant students. 8. It strikes the provisions in the bill pertaining to the qualifications of school attendance coordinators and the provisions that propose to establish that the salary costs of attendance coordinators are eligible for state subsidy under the Essential Programs and Services Funding Act.

Committee Report: Feb 14, 2012, Ought to Pass as Amended

LD 1645: An Act To Require the Maine Community College System, the University of Maine System and the Maine Maritime Academy To Report the Number of Students Enrolled in Remedial Courses, Senator Alfond

    ...requires the Maine Community College System, the University of Maine System and the Maine Maritime Academy to report annually on the number of traditional students who attended high school in the State and who are enrolled in remedial courses at each campus within their respective systems.

Latest Committee Action: VOTED, Feb 15, 2012, Ant. Div. Rep.

LD 1724: Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 101: Maine Unified Special Education Regulation Birth to Age Twenty, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Education, Rep Richardson

    ...provides for legislative review of portions of Chapter 101: Maine Unified Special Education Regulation Birth to Age Twenty, a major substantive rule of the Department of Education. ... amendment provides that final adoption of portions of Chapter 101: Maine Unified Special Education Regulation Birth to Age Twenty, a provisionally adopted major substantive rule of the Department of Education, is authorized contingent upon the department's making specified changes to the proposed rule. The amendment also provides that final adoption of certain sections and the appendix of Chapter 101: Maine Unified Special Education Regulation Birth to Age Twenty, a provisionally adopted major substantive rule of the Department of Education, that were submitted to the Legislature for review in Legislative Document 1782 to ensure that the Chapter 101 rule complies with changes in federal regulations pertaining to the Part C provisions of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 United States Code, Section 1400 et seq., as amended, is authorized.

Committee Report: Mar 8, 2012, Ought to Pass as Amended

LD 1742: An Act To Amend Education Laws, Rep Richardson

    ...Part A amends and clarifies audit requirements in order for the State and school administrative units to be in compliance with federal regulations. Part A also enacts statutory language requiring the audit of state-funded school construction projects and repeals language that is no longer necessary. Part B requires that the regional school unit budget meeting occur within 30 days after the failure of the budget validation referendum. Part C repeals the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, chapter 109, which establishes the union school governance structure, and fixes cross-references to that chapter. There are no longer any school administrative units using this governance structure. It also repeals statutory language that applies to school construction projects approved prior to July 1, 1985 and clarifies statutory language that applies to current school construction projects. Part D revises school construction language to be in compliance with the current funding requirements. Part E clarifies the treatment of foreign exchange students and students who do not reside in the State for the purposes of counting students for state subsidy. Part F repeals the addition of targeted funds to the elementary tuition rate for students who are residents of the unorganized territory to be consistent with the repeal of the addition of targeted funds to the secondary tuition rate by Public Law 2009, chapter 213. Part G refines state requirements for summer school tuition rates for the first year of operation. Part H reinstates the statutory requirement for school administrative units to operate education programs for gifted and talented students. It repeals outdated language related to funding and clarifies that approved gifted and talented education program costs are subsidizable costs under the Essential Programs and Services Funding Act. Part I corrects a reference in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, section 7001, subsection 2-C from Part C of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 United States Code, Section 1414(d)(1)(B) to Part B.

Latest Committee Action: VOTED, Feb 22, 2012, Ant. Div. Rep.

LD 1762 An Act To Amend and Clarify the Public Charter School Law, Senator Mason

    ...amends the law authorizing creation of public charter schools. The bill makes the following changes with regard to authorizers of public charter schools. It allows the Commissioner of Education to suspend an authorizer's authority to enter into new charter contracts if the commissioner finds that the authorizer is deficient in performing its functions. It clarifies the functioning of local school boards that join together to form a regional charter school. It clarifies membership and operations of the State Charter School Commission, including specifying that members who are appointed because of their membership on the State Board of Education continue to serve on the commission only as long as they are members of the State Board of Education. It provides that the transitional 10-school limit on public charter schools in current law applies only to schools approved by the commission. It requires a public charter school authorizer to give a public charter school written notice of deficiencies in the school and to provide written notice of the authorizer's charter revocation procedures and criteria. The bill makes the following changes with regard to public charter schools. It provides that governing boards of public charter schools are subject to the same conflict of interest provisions as noncharter public school boards. It clarifies when public charter schools take over responsibility for special education services for a student transferring from a noncharter public school and clarifies special education funding. The bill changes the law regarding payment of special education funds to a public charter school authorized by a local school board by requiring that the payments be made to the local school board, not to the public charter school. The bill ensures that a public charter school student has the same access to career and technical education programs as students in the noncharter public school in the student's resident school administrative unit. Under current laws, if a school administrative unit fails to make payment to a public charter school, the Treasurer of State is directed to withhold payments to that school administrative unit. This bill provides that the Treasurer of State may withhold those funds from the municipalities that are members of the school administrative unit. Finally, the bill provides that public charter schools have access to high-risk pools and emergency funds operated by the State or by the school's authorizer, but do not have access to local high-risk or emergency funds.

Committee Report: Mar 7, 2012, MAJ: Ought to Pass as Amended, MIN: Ought Not to Pass

LD 1766: Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 61: Rules for Major Capital School Construction Projects, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Education and the State Board of Education, Rep. Richardson

    ...provides for legislative review of portions of Chapter 61: Rules for Major Capital School Construction Projects, a major substantive rule of the Department of Education and the State Board of Education.

Latest Committee Action:VOTED, Feb 22, 2012, Ant. Div. Rep.

LD 1770: An Act To Encourage Parental Involvement in Education, Senator Alfond

    ... requires school administrative units and public charter schools, in consultation with parents, teachers and administrators, to develop a parental involvement plan that promotes student achievement. Each school board and governing board is required to annually approve a parental involvement plan for the school administrative unit and the public charter school and to submit the plan to the Commissioner of Education. The bill also requires the Commissioner of Education to post on the Department of Education's publicly accessible website the names of all schools and public charter schools that do not develop a parental involvement plan.

Latest Committee Action:VOTED, Feb 23, 2012, Ought to Pass as Amended

LD 1781: An Act To Restructure the National Board Certification Program for Teachers, Senator Alfond

    ... restructures the incentive established for teachers who attain certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The bill provides that, beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, the payment of the $3,000 annual salary supplement awarded to national board-certified teachers must be provided with funds from the Department of Education and the state subsidy allocated to the school administrative unit that employs the teacher. The bill also establishes an incentive to encourage teachers to apply for national board certification. The bill provides that, beginning with school year 2012-2013, up to 10% of the per-pupil amount for professional development allocated to a school administrative unit must be awarded to provide payment of the application fees for teachers employed by the school administrative unit who apply for national board certification during the year of allocation. If a school administrative unit fails to use the full 10% of the per-pupil amount to pay for application fees, the Commissioner of Education may withhold from the next year's allocation the unused amount.

Latest Committee Action:VOTED, Mar 6, 2012, Ought to Pass as Amended

LD 1783: Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Chapter 140: Public Charter Schools, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Education, Rep Richardson

    ...provides for legislative review of Chapter 140: Public Charter Schools, a major substantive rule of the Department of Education.

Latest Committee Action: VOTED, Feb 23, 2012, Ought to Pass as Amended

LD 1788: Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 64: Maine School Facilities Program and School Revolving Renovation Fund, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Education and the Maine Municipal Bond Bank, Rep. Richardson

    ...provides for legislative review of portions of Chapter 64: Maine School Facilities Program and School Revolving Renovation Fund, a major substantive rule of the Department of Education and the Maine Municipal Bond Bank.

Committee Report: Mar 2, 2012, MAJ: Ought to Pass, MIN: Ought to Pass as Amended

LD 1854: An Act To Expand Educational Opportunities for Maine Students, Governor's bill

    ...creates a school open enrollment program under which a student may attend a school other than the school to which that student is assigned based on the street address of the student's family. The bill provides that the governing bodies of public schools and private schools approved for the receipt of public funds may elect to open their schools to enrollment by students who are not otherwise entitled to attend those schools. Opening the school to enrollment is voluntary, but the school may not select which students to enroll under the program. The student is not required to obtain permission from the superintendent of the school administrative unit of which the student is a resident in order to enroll in the open enrollment school. The governing bodies of open enrollment schools are required to set forth a process to determine how many openings will be made available to students and in which grades or programs the openings will be offered. Contracts for school privileges may not prevent students from participating in the open enrollment program. A student who transfers from a public school in one school administrative unit to a public school in another unit under the program is considered to be a resident of the unit to which the student transfers. The student is counted as a student in the new unit, as a student is under an agreement between superintendents to transfer a student, but the change in residence is included in the funding formula earlier than it would be under an agreement between superintendents. The school administrative unit in which a student actually resides is required to pay tuition if that student enrolls under the program in a private school approved for the receipt of public funds. The bill also amends current law under which superintendents of 2 school administrative units may grant a parent's request to have a student's residency transferred from one school unit to another. If one or both superintendents deny the transfer request, the parent may appeal to the Commissioner of Education. The bill requires that superintendents provide written reasons for any denial, and specifies the grounds on which the commissioner may overturn a denial.

LD 1858: An Act To Ensure Effective Teaching and School Leadership, Governor's bill

    ... requires school administrative units to develop and implement comprehensive performance evaluation and professional growth systems for teachers and principals. The bill sets forth standards that must be met by the systems, including a requirement that multiple measures of effectiveness must be used in evaluations, that evaluators must be properly trained and that a system must include a process for using information from the evaluation process to inform professional development. The Department of Education is required to adopt rules regarding the requirements of the system. The requirement for development and implementation of the system is phased in with full implementation required in school year 2015-2016. Effectiveness ratings must be treated as a significant factor in determining the order of layoff and recall when reductions in force occur. The bill provides that receipt of a rating of ineffective for 2 consecutive years constitutes just cause for nonrenewal of a teacher's contract. Any appeal or grievance of a rating or evaluation under the system is limited to matters of implementation, not professional judgment. The bill establishes a new targeted funding component under the Essential Programs and Services formula, to be used for development and implementation of the required performance evaluation and professional growth system. The bill requires the department to collect data on the success and retention of teachers who complete approved teacher preparation programs in the State. It also requires the State Board of Education to include in its certification rules a requirement that an applicant for a provisional teacher certificate must complete a 10-week student teaching experience before attaining certification and a requirement that a person seeking an endorsement to teach either elementary or middle school must pass a rigorous test of mathematics and evidence-based reading instruction. Finally, the bill requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules setting forth a path to provisional certification for a person who has not completed a traditional teacher preparation program but who has a baccalaureate degree and demonstrates subject matter competency.

LD 1866: An Act To Remove Inequity in Student Access to Certain Schools, Governor's bill

    ...repeals the language stating that only nonsectarian private schools may be approved for the receipt of public funds for tuition purposes.