Category Archives: School Choice

Education Commissioner applauds expansion of student learning opportunities

The Maine Charter School Commission voted today to approve the state’s first virtual charter school, which could begin start serving students this fall

AUGUSTA – Education Commissioner Jim Rier released the following statement today in response to the Maine Charter School Commission’s approval of the state’s first public virtual charter school.

The unanimous approval authorizes the independent Commission to enter into contract negotiations with Maine Connections Academy, which plans to start serving as many as 300 students from across the state this fall. Continue reading

Charter Commission to vote on applications March 3

The Maine Charter School Commission will vote at its March 3 meeting on whether to move forward the applications of three public charter schools proposed to open in Maine this fall. Continue reading

Charter Commission advances 3 applications, schedules public hearings

Following committee reviews, three proposed public charter schools including one in Lewiston and two virtuals have moved to the next stage in the State’s application process, which includes public hearings next week

AUGUSTA – The public will have the opportunity to weigh-in next week on three public charter schools proposed to open in Maine this fall.

Earlier today, Maine Charter School Commission (MCSC) members working in small review teams presented their recommendations on four applications, with the entire seven-member Commission then voting to advance applications from Lewiston-Auburn Academy Charter School, Lewiston; Maine Connections Academy; and Maine Virtual Academy. The application for Many Hands Montessori School in Windham did not move forward. Continue reading

Commissioner applauds strong start of charter schools

Monitoring by the Maine Charter School Commission of the two charter schools that served students during the 2012-13 academic year show the state’s first charters are meeting their missions

AUGUSTA – The State’s Acting Education Commissioner is applauding the state’s first two public charters after their inaugural monitoring reports show the central Maine schools are engaging students and adapting quickly to meet emerging needs.

Cornville Regional Charter School in Cornville, which served approximately 60 grade K-6 students, and the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences (MeANS) in Hinckley, which served 52 students grades 9-12, opened in the fall of 2012 after Maine, under the leadership of Governor Paul R. LePage, became the 41st state to allow public charter schools.  Continue reading

Clarity on charter school special education student funding

In response to several questions from the field, the Department is providing clarity for charter schools regarding funding allocations for students who are newly identified as special education but were not identified as such by their attending school administrative unit (SAU).

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Transfer decisions refocused on student best interest

AUGUSTA – Starting today, superintendents who reject a parent’s request to send their child to school in another district will have to explain why that transfer would not be in the best interest of the student.

Under Maine law, a parent who believes it is in the best interest of their child to attend school in a different district than where the student lives can request the two superintendents agree to a transfer. Continue reading

State of Maine approves new virtual high school program

The Maine DOE has granted the Virtual High School (VHS) Collaborative approved online learning provider status. The Department has found VHS courses to meet the State’s standards, enabling middle and high schools statewide to partner with VHS.

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Message to administrators on superintendents’ agreements

Dear Superintendents,

Last fall, former Commissioner Stephen Bowen sent you a letter on the topic of superintendents’ agreements. In that letter, he explained why he has tended to overturn the superintendent transfer decisions that are appealed to him by Maine families more often than not, in the hope that it would make his thinking on the issue clearer to you.

Since then, the issue of superintendents’ agreements has emerged again, and two bills were passed during this last legislative session that amend the current law in important ways, effective Oct. 9. Continue reading

Commission receives notice of 7 charter school proposals

AUGUSTA – Seven groups informed the Maine Charter School Commission (MCSC) that they plan to submit applications to open public charter schools in Maine.  All of the groups hope to open a school in the fall of 2014.

The deadline for delivery of the letters to the Maine Charter School Commission or having them postmarked was this past Tuesday. Continue reading

A letter from Commissioner Bowen: A new opportunity

It has been a great honor to serve students and schools as the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Education for the past two and a half years. In that time, we’ve made incredible progress in moving from plan to practice our Education Evolving strategic plan to restructure Maine’s education system around our students.  Continue reading