Category Archives: School Choice

Maine Charter School Commission welcomes new leadership

For Immediate Release from the Maine Charter School Commission Thursday, July 17.

Contact: Bob Kautz, Executive Director, (207) 592-8352

AUGUSTA – The Maine Charter School Commission (MCSC) has new leadership, having elected Shelley Reed as chair and Ande Smith as vice-chair.

Reed, of Wayne, had previously served as vice-chair and replaces outgoing chair Jana Lapoint, who has served as Chair for two terms and will remain on the Board. Ms. Reed has served on the Maine Charter School Commission since its inception in 2011. Currently, she is the Special Projects Coordinator for the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine.

Reed has long been active in public education, having served as the State Homeless Education Coordinator, School Counselor Consultant, and Truancy, Dropout Alternative Education Consultant in the Maine Department of Education for 10 years, retiring in 2011. Previous work in education included 16 years of service as an elementary school counselor in Lewiston and 13 years as a grade 1 and 2 teacher in Auburn. Reed has a Master’s in Counselor Education from the University of Southern Maine and a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Maine, Farmington.

Smith is a resident of North Yarmouth with his school-age children. He graduated Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BS degree in Nuclear Engineering, the University of Connecticut with a Masters of Public Affairs, and the University Of Maine School Of Law with his Juris Doctor. He is President of Deer Brook Associates, a privately held firm providing legal and consulting services principally in information security, technology, and privacy. Having earned his submarine warfare qualifications, Smith also holds the rank of Captain in the US Navy Reserve, where he commands a Pentagon-based undersea warfare unit and is the director of the Reserve component’s undersea warfare operations program for the US submarine force.

Both Reed and Smith were elected to one-year positions that began July 1 and are eligible for re-election after serving their terms.

The Maine Charter School Commission is one of two types of entities permitted to authorize public charter schools in Maine. The Commission can authorize up to 10 public charter schools throughout the state during the first 10 years of Maine’s charter school law.

As of this September, there will be 6 public charter schools in Maine serving over 700 students. These schools are the Baxter Academy for Technology and Sciences in Portland, the Cornville Regional Charter School in Cornville, the Fiddlehead School of Arts and Science in Gray, the Harpswell Coastal Academy in Harpswell, the Maine Connections Academy, a state-wide virtual school in South Portland, and the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences in Hinckley.

The Maine Charter School Commission is an independent state agency. The Commission consists of seven members appointed by the Maine State Board of Education. Three of the seven are members of the State Board. The remaining four members are required by law to come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds.

For more information, visit the Maine Charter School Commission.

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Notice of intent for 6 charter school proposals received

Six 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 2015.

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Charter commission seeks proposals for 2015 school opening

The Maine Charter School Commission is currently soliciting proposals for new public charter schools that would begin serving students in the fall of 2015.

In a request for proposals (RFP) published Wednesday, the Commission seeks detailed applications from capable school developers who are committed to educating their students well in a successful, sustainable, high quality charter school.  Continue reading

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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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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