4 January 2015
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This coming week, as the 127th Maine Legislature begins its new session, I want to take this time to wish you and your families a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.
I believe I speak for most legislators when I say that we begin this session with optimism with real hope that we can work together to advance the interests and well-being of all Maine citizens.
I am honored to serve as your state representative for another legislative session. As always, please let me hear from you with any concerns about state policy.
Right after the election, I had a good meeting with the Governor to share goals for educational policy and I am pleased to report that the education challenges facing our state seem, so far, not to be marked by partisan differences.
While I expect there will be some controversial and difficult debates in the upcoming session, I am hopeful that the good relationships I have cultivated across the aisle and with the executive departments will weather the turbulence.
Legislative commission reports
Since the election in November, I have been wrapping up the work from the two legislative commissions on which I served over the summer and fall.
You can read the final report from our Commission on College Affordability at this link:
The final report from our school funding commission is due to be published on Tuesday. But, you can read the summary of our commission’s recommendations at this link.
I have been assigned again to the Education Committee. I have been working closely with legislative leadership and also the Governor’s staff and the Department of Education to advance what I take to be a nonpartisan agenda to make sure that Maine’s schools continue to be the best that they can be and that Maine students are among the best educated in the world.
You can read my own educational legislative agenda at this link.
I have submitted eleven bill titles for this upcoming session in these policy areas:
Port Authority purchase of the Bar Harbor Ferry Terminal
- An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue for the Purchase and Development of the Bar Harbor Ferry Terminal as a Multimodal Transportation Facility
Bond issue of $5M to purchase the Bar Harbor Ferry Terminal from the government of Canada and develop it as a multimodal transportation facility
Pilot Program Group Home for Young Adults
- An Act to Facilitate the Development and Operation of a Group Home for Young Adults with Disabilities
A concept draft to allow any necessary statutory support for a particular proposal for the development and operation of a group home in Bar Harbor for young adults with disabilities. The project aspires to be supported by Medicaid funding for which the residents have already qualified.
Downeast Salmon Hatchery
- An Act to Support Expanded Capacity for Breeding Wild Atlantic Salmon in Downeast Rivers
Concept draft to explore funding competitive grants to establish hatcheries supporting Wild Atlantic Salmon based on the success and knowledge gained by the East Machias Aquatic Research Center.
Charter school funding
- An Act Regarding Charter School Funding
Provides state funding for charter schools commissioned by the state.
- An Act to Ensure Consistent Certification of Graduation Standards in Publicly Funded Secondary Schools
Makes demonstrated proficiency in the system of Learning Results a requirement for the award of a diploma indicating graduation from a public charter school, in order to match the requirements for public schools and private schools approved for tuition that enroll at least 60% publicly funded students.
- An Act to Allow Secondary Schools to Grant Intermediate Certificates of Academic Proficiency
Adds a section to Title 20-A, §4722-A. allowing schools to grant intermediate certificates of content area proficiency to students upon demonstration of proficiency in each section within the system of learning results established under section 6209. These certificates of content area proficiency may be included in the student’s permanent academic transcript and students may use these certificates as official credentials of academic achievement for the purposes of employment and post-secondary education.
- An Act to Clarify the Authority of Individualized Education Plans in Relation to Proficiency-Based Diplomas
Modifies the language in Title 20-A, §4722-A. Proficiency-based diploma standards to clarify that Individualized Education Plans may define adequate evidence of proficiency.
- An Act to Support the Implementation of Proficiency-based Student Learning
Concept draft to advance a bill as necessary to improve the state’s support for proficiency-based learning.
Professional development and performance evaluations and professional growth systems
- Resolve, To Implement Maine Online Professional Development Platform for Directs the Department of Education to implement a virtual platform for the collaborative Teachers
- exchange of professional development programming and content.
- An Act to Allow Sufficient Time for Implementation of the Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth System for Educators
Revise the dates in Title 20-A §13705. Phase-in of requirements to allow a year to pilot.
- An Act To Improve School Administrative Efficiency and Professional Capacity Via Regional Education Service Districts
Concept draft to enable the distribution of targeted grant funds for best practices in regional professional and curriculum development based the model of Education Service Districts and funded through the Fund for Efficient Delivery of Educational Services.
Multiple pathways and virtual learning
- Resolve, To Provide Maine Students with Access to Online and Digital Learning Opportunities through Their Existing School Districts
Similar to this adopted amendment to last session’s LD 1736: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_126th/billtexts/SP068902.asp but without a moratorium on virtual charter schools