Charter Commission approves Maine Virtual Academy

AUGUSTA – The Maine Charter School Commission has voted to enter into contract negotiations with the backers of what will be the state’s second virtual public charter school.

At a meeting in Augusta today, the independent commission voted 6-1 to enter into contract negotiations with Maine Virtual Academy, which plans to start serving as many as 297 students from across the state in the fall of 2015.

The school will contract with K12, a national virtual learning leader, but be governed by a local board of directors and have a physical presence in central Maine.

In its opening year, the school will enroll students in grades 7-9 but expand to grades 7-12.

In 2011, Governor Paul R. LePage signed legislation making Maine the 41st state to allow charter schools and establishing the seven-member Commission as an authorizer of up to 10 public charter schools through June 30, 2022. Local school boards can additionally authorize public charter schools.

Currently, there are six charter schools enrolling a total of nearly 900 Maine students including Cornville Regional Charter School, the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences in Hinckley, Baxter Academy for Technology and Science in Portland, Fiddlehead School of Arts and Science in Gray, Harpswell Coastal Academy and Maine Connections Academy. A third of those students are attending Maine Connections Academy, the state’s first public virtual charter school which opened this fall and is serving students from 86 school districts across Maine.

For more information about the Maine Charter School Commission or learn more about the proposed Maine Virtual Academy, visit www.maine.gov/csc.

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3 thoughts on “Charter Commission approves Maine Virtual Academy

  1. I hope that the DOE will work closely with the Legislature in this next session to create a funding solution for charter schools that is fair to all public schools. The funding mechanism presently in place is polarizing. Charter schools should be great options for students who don’t fit in traditional public schools and if the funding did not directly and negatively impact local school budgets, I think that superintendents and school boards in Maine would agree with that.

    1. Twice now there have been proposals, supported aggressively by the Department, that would cut local districts out of the funding of charter schools and have us work directly with the charter schools (as we do with the districts) to make payments. Those opposed to public charter schools have prevented the passage of those proposals, but there is growing interest in resolving those issue and given the wide-reaching impact of the virtual schools, we expect there to be more support from districts across the state this coming legislative session so hopefully this issue will finally get resolved so we can move beyond the charter school funding debate and refocus on how to create opportunities for students to be most successful at Maine public schools, whether they be charters or traditional.

  2. How terrible! Stealing from Peter to pay Paul! This looks like Robin Hood in reverse: Steal from the poor taxpayers and give to the rich investors. I for one cannot support for profit education. Why are we allowing this debacle to happen?

    Virtual education should be run by and under local taxpayer control.

    Carl Beckett
    Retired Teacher

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