MACS supports all stakeholders in Maine’s public education system, focusing on Maine’s Charter Schools, Maine’s Charter School Commission, Maine school districts interested in authorizing new public charter schools, and individuals and groups interested in founding new public charter schools.

MACS is Maine’s “charter support organization” or “CSO”.  CSO’s evolved with the charter movement nationally. As each state passed its charter school law, a CSO stepped forward to lead that state’s public charter sector.

CSO leaders work together on the State Leaders Council of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, sharing, learning, and guiding the public charter sector nationally.  MACS has represented Maine on the State Leaders Council since 2008.

MACS, actually, became Maine’s CSO many years before the state’s charter law was passed (See MACS’ History), working with all stakeholders in collaboration with the National Alliance and the State Leaders Council to bring the best of public charter school practices to Maine’s public education system.

MACS is committed to improving public education programs for all children in Maine and supporting the public charter school community by:

  • Educating the public, policy makers and stakeholders about the power and potential of the charter school model;
  • Promoting high standards for public charter school authorizers and operators;
  • Facilitating collaboration among charter school boards, administrators, and teaching staffs;
  • Supporting charter school operators and founding groups as they create exceptional charter schools;
  • Collaborating with charter school associations in other states and national organizations to generate the expertise, technical support, and resources necessary to accomplish our mission and realize our vision.

MACS’ History

In 1993, MACS founders discovered the new, innovative charter school initiative in Minnesota and envisioned bringing the power and potential of the charter school model to the public education system in Maine.  MACS founders presented charter school bills to Maine’s legislature each year beginning in 1996, based on the experience, best practices, and model laws developed in other states.

In 2000, the Maine Association for Charter Schools was officially incorporated and in 2001, it received its 501 (c) (3) designation as a tax-exempt non-profit organization.

MACS worked persistently for eleven more years, informing Maine parents, teachers, educators, community members, business leaders, policymakers, and  educational leaders about the public charter school model and its potential for innovation and improved opportunities for Maine students.

Since 2008, MACS has represented Maine in the national charter school community, working closely with  charter school leaders from other states, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the National Association for Charter School Authorizers, and the U.S. Department of Education.

Finally, in 2011, Maine became the 42nd state to officially join the public charter school movement, passing bi-partisan enabling legislation.  MACS was instrumental in the charter school law’s design and passage, and is proud that Maine’s law is hailed nationally as a model law, one of the best in the country for creating and sustaining high quality public charter schools.

In 2011 and 2012, MACS helped to implement the new law, working closely with Maine’s State Board of Education and Department of Education in establishing and training the Maine Charter School Commission, the public entity created under the charter law to authorize charter schools statewide.

Currently, Maine’s Charter School Commission has authorized nine public charter schools serving 2,240 children from over 100 towns in Maine.  The need for these new public school options is now clear, as of the schools have waiting lists of students wishing to enroll.

MACS is now working with new founding groups interested in creating new public charter schools, and with several local school districts exploring the possibility of authorizing charter schools themselves, within their jurisdictions, as Maine’s charter law allows.