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Charter Schools - Expanding Maine's Public Education Options

Congratulations to

Maine Connections Academy!

     Maine's first virtual charter school will open next September for students statewide in grades 7 to 12!

     Its charter was approved unanimously by Maine's Charter School Commission on Monday, March 3.  

Click here for MCA's website

Legislative Update

LD 1736 - Fortunately, the Senate was unable to override the Governor's veto, so there will be no moratorium on virtual charter schools until the state develops an online program if its own.

Click Here for more information on LD 1736

LD 1671 - On March 19, the Education Committee, voted "ought to pass" along party lines. This bill seeks to re-write Maine's charter school law for virtual schools, and has been heavily amended.  The House and Senate will now vote and if passed, the Governor is expected to veto the bill.

Click Here for LD 1617 text (un-amended copy)

The House & Senate will vote soon on LD 1617

Click Here for more information

Call or email your representatives in Augusta to voice your objection!

Recent Events:

January 27 - Maine Charter School Day at the

State House "Hall of Flags"

       Representatives from Maine's operating charter schools, new charter school applicants, MACS, and supportive organizations set up displays and networked with legislators in Augusta. 

February 3 - "Waiting for Superman" showing at the

Rockland Public Library

       MACS and StudentsFirst held a free screening of this powerful film about urban public charter schools followed by a discussion of critical issues facing public education in the mid-coast area.


Click here to read MACS' latest Newsletter


The 2013/2014 Application Cycle

       On December 3 the Maine Charter School Commission declared  applications complete for four groups wishing to open a public charter school in September 2014.  

      The Commission's Review Teams then screened the applications for content, and interviewed the board of directors of each group to judge their ability and readiness to open and operate a successful charter schools.

      On January 30 the Review Teams reported their findings and made a recommendation to the full Commission as to which groups should move forward to the next phase in the process. The full Commission then voted to hold public interviews and hearings for three of the applicants:  Maine Virtual Academy, Maine Connections Academy, and Lewiston-Auburn Academy Charter School.

      The public interviews and hearings were held the first week in February, and the Review Teams will made their final recommendations to the full Commission at its meeting on March 3.  At that time the Commission voted to grant a charter to one of the applicants to open next fall, Maine Virtual Academy.

Federal Charter Schools Funds

Finally Flow to Maine

The U.S. Department of Education has Awarded Charter School Grants to Maine's first two charter schools.

     In late September, the U.S. Department of Education announced the award of 16 grants to new or recently opened charter schools. 

     Of the sixteen three-year grants awarded nationally, two were for Cornville Regional Charter School ($242.439 in year 1) and for the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences ($189,834 in year 1).

     The grants are for planning, program design, and initial implementation of new charter schools, as well as for dissemination and sharing best practices of existing charter schools.

3 + 2 = 5

       Three new public charter schools opened in Maine this September, joining two that opened last fall.

       Congratulations to their founding groups, boards of directors, staff, students, and parents for the extraordinary commitment they have made to provide these exciting new educational options for Maine children! 

       Please visit the school websites to learn about their innovative programs. 

        Maine’s first two charters start their 2nd year:  

       MeANS is a year-round school, and celebrated the success of its first ten graduating students on August 9.

       This year, Maine has about 400 students from over 50 school districts enrolled in a public charter school of their choice.

       All five chartered schools are authorized by Maine's Charter School Commission with a 5-year contract that details their educational program, governance, school operations, and the multiple measures needed to demonstrate their success.  


Maine's 2014 2nd Legislative Session has begun.  Are Maine's public charter schools still under attack?

       Over 35 bills were proposed in the legislature last session that could have had negative impacts on charter schools. 

       Most died in the Education Committee or in the House or the Senate.  Thankfully, those that were passed were vetoed by Governor LePage, who strongly supports public charter schools.

       Four bills were "carried over" to the Legislature's second session which began January 8.  More bills have been proposed that will effect charter schools.

So stay tuned!


Click below to Read
Joe Nathan's Weekly Newspaper Column in the Minnesota Press.

Joe Nathan's Documents from the Center for School Change

Links to Other Maine Charter School Websites:

Maine Department of Education - Charter Schools

Maine Charter School Commission

 Maine's Charter School Law
2012 Changes

Click Here for MACS' Summary of the "rules" and "amendments" passed by Maine's Legislature as LD 1762 and LD 1783.

MMaine's Law is Ranked #2 in the Nation
by the

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Read MACS Briefing Papers
See the Link, Top Left or Click Here

Click to Download & Read:

MACS' Tri-fold Brochure

MACS' Booklet Brochure

Inequity Persists in Charter School Funding

A report just released by Ball State University details an average 19.2 percent disparity in funding between charter and other public schools – a gap that grows to more than 27 percent in 40 cities where most charters are located.  

Click Here for the full report

Free to Lead: Autonomy in Highly Successful Charter Schools

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools' "issue brief" identifies seven distinct ways autonomy impacts operational and academic performance at five highly successful charter schools.

Click Here to Read More

Meanwhile ...

To learn about charter schools, please

¬ check out our links top left.  For news of our recent past, please Click Here

 To Contact MACS:

Did You Know?

Twice as many registered voters favor charter schools as oppose them. The more people learn about charter schools, the more they like them.

Source: State of the Charter School Movement 2005




DATA on Achievement in Charter Schools

DATA on Public Opinion of Charter Schools


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