Administrative Letter: Guidance for residency determination for split residence students

Administrative Letter: #10        
Policy Code: JCA
TO: Public School Administrators
FROM: Robert G. Hasson, Jr., Ed. D. Commissioner
DATE: December 14, 2017
SUBJECT: Guidance for residency determination for split residence students

This guidance is offered by the Maine Department of Education (Department) to clarify the determination of residence and enrollment in the case where a student has parents or guardians who reside in two different school administrative units (SAUs).

In accordance with 20-A, MRSA, §5202(2), “A person is eligible to attend schools in the school administrative unit where the person’s parent resides.”

The Department interprets this section to mean that the student is eligible to attend school in the SAU where the student normally sleeps at night in a parent’s or guardian’s home during the time that school is in session. The statute does not recognize any other definition of residency, such as “primary residence.”

When there are two parents/guardians who do not live together but both have educational decision-making rights for a student, they may agree on a residency for the child that regularly includes some time in both residences during the school year and school week. In these cases, the parents must choose which SAU the student will attend.

Please contact Pamela Ford-Taylor, Maine DOE School Enrollment Specialist at 207-624-6617 or with questions or comments about the guidance.