ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER: Approval for Receipt of Public Funds by Private Schools Located Outside the State of Maine

Administrative Letter: # 9
Policy Code: DDA
TO: Public School Superintendents, Private School Administrators Outside the State of Maine
FROM: Robert G. Hasson, Jr., Ed.D., Commissioner
DATE: June 23, 2017
SUBJECT: Approval for Receipt of Public Funds by Private Schools Located Outside the State of Maine

Pursuant to 20-A M.R.S. § 2951, a private school may be approved for the receipt of public funds for tuition purposes only if it:

  1. Basic Approval. Meets the requirements for basic school approval under subchapter 1 (§§ 2901-2904);
  2. Nonsectarian. Is a nonsectarian school in accordance with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution;
  3. Incorporated. Is incorporated under the laws of the State of Maine or of the United States;
  4. Reports and audits. (repealed)
  5. Additional requirements. Complies with the reporting and auditing requirements in sections 2952 and 2953 and the requirements adopted pursuant to section 2954;
  6. Student assessment. Any school that enrolls 60% or more publicly funded students, as determined by the previous year’s October and April average enrollment, shall participate in the statewide assessment program to measure and evaluate the academic achievements of students; and
  7. Release of student records. Upon request of a school unit, release copies of all student records for students transferring from the private school to the school unit.

A review of the current procedures for the approval of private schools outside the State of Maine to receive public tuition funds revealed that these private schools were not being evaluated to determine whether they were meeting the requirements for basic school approval pursuant to section 2951(1). As a result of this finding, beginning with the 2017-18 school year, all private schools seeking approval to receive public tuition funds, both in and outside the State of Maine, will be required to meet the statutory requirements for basic school approval.  In order to ensure continuity of educational programming for students who have already made schooling arrangements for the 2017-2018 school year, the Department will allow those private schools outside of Maine that received approval in FY 17 and are on the approved list on the DOE website, to remain approved one year before they must adhere to the requirements noted above.  However, after the 2017-18 school year, they too must meet all the requirements of Title 20-A, §2951.  In addition, please remember that all private schools will still need to complete the Year-End Report of Private Schools (EF-M-240) for the 2017-18 school year to be eligible for approval to receive public tuition funds.

For information regarding the Private School Approval process, please go to http://www.maine.gov/doe/schoolapproval/privateschoolapproval/index.html, or contact Pamela Ford-Taylor, School Enrollment Specialist, at 207-624-6617 or Pamela.Ford-Taylor@maine.gov.

For information regarding the approval process for private schools to receive public tuition funds, please go to http://www.maine.gov/education/forms/misteam/efm240/efm240menu.htm, or contact Paula Gravelle, School Finance Manager, at 207-624-6792 or paula.b.gravelle@maine.gov.