Code of Maine Rules
Section 071-125-7 - SCHOOL APPROVAL STATUS

Current through 2023-52, December 27, 2023

7.01 Initial Approval Procedures

A. A school administrative unit shall obtain initial approval from the Commissioner prior to opening a new school.
1. A school administrative unit seeking initial approval status for any school shall make this intention known to the Commissioner in writing as soon as possible prior to the initial opening. School units that have received school construction approval from the State Board of Education shall be deemed to have met this notice requirement.

2. Prior to the initial opening, the facility shall complete any local code enforcement requirements and be approved for safety by the State Fire Marshal or local municipal fire department official, and certified as sanitary by the Department of Health and Human Services.

3. For a new school administrative unit or other public school, adoption of a proposed Comprehensive Education Plan shall be on the agenda of at least one meeting of the school board. The school board shall invite participation and discussion of the Plan by parents, citizens, staff, and students. After receiving comments on the proposed Plan, the school board shall review the proposal, make any modifications deemed appropriate, and adopt a final Comprehensive Education Plan prior to the initial opening.

B. Initial approval status shall be awarded when the Commissioner determines that the school is likely to comply with all approval standards.

C. Within six weeks after student occupancy, representatives of the Commissioner may visit the school while it is in session to determine if all applicable school approval standards are being met.
1. If school approval standards are not being met, initial approval status shall continue until compliance is demonstrated or until the end of the school year, whichever is the earlier date.

2. Upon obtaining final approval by the Commissioner, the school administrative unit shall be entitled to operate the school and to receive state subsidy aid to which it is otherwise entitled.

7.02 Provisional Approval

A. A school that is determined by the Commissioner not to comply with applicable school approval standards shall be placed on provisional approval. Failure to submit School Approval Reports, other than financial reports, in a timely manner and in accordance with this rule, shall result in provisional approval status. Failure to submit financial reports in a timely manner shall result in a withholding of state subsidy in accordance with Section 7.03. B.

B. When placing a school on provisional approval status, the Commissioner shall take the following actions:
1. The Commissioner shall notify, in writing, the superintendent responsible for any schools placed on provisional approval status and shall include a statement of the reasons for provisional approval status.

2. Representatives of the Commissioner shall meet with the superintendent and shall determine a reasonable deadline for achieving compliance with school approval standards.

3. A school or school administrative unit on provisional approval status shall be required to file with the Commissioner an acceptable written plan of corrective action as part of the Comprehensive Education Plan. The Commissioner may assign a school assistance team in accordance with Maine Department of Education Regulation 127.

4. Failure to file a required plan of corrective action shall result in enforcement action by the Commissioner, pursuant to Section 7.03 of this rule.

C. The Commissioner shall restore full approval status upon the Commissioner's determination of compliance with school approval standards.

7.03 Enforcement Measures

A. Notice of Failure to Comply

The Commissioner shall give written notice of pending enforcement action to the superintendent of any school or school administrative unit that fails to comply with school approval standards by the established deadlines in statute or in the plan of corrective action established in Section 7.02. B.3. Such notice shall include a statement of the laws and regulations with which the school or school administrative unit fails to comply. School administrative units failing to comply with school approval standards shall be given notice and the opportunity for a hearing.

B. Penalties

The Commissioner may impose the following penalties on schools or school administrative units until compliance is achieved:

1. Withhold state subsidy and other state funds from the school or school administrative unit;

2. Refer the matter to the Attorney General, who may seek injunctive relief to enjoin activities not in compliance with the governing statute or seek any other remedy authorized by law; or

3. Employ other penalties authorized in statute or authorized/required by federal law.

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