Education in Maine facts for kids

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Education in Maine consists of public and private schools in Maine, including the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System, private colleges, and secondary and primary schools.

Department of Education

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The Maine Department of Education (DOE) administers public education in the state. It is run by a commissioner appointed by the governor. Local municipalities and their respective school districts operate individual public elementary and secondary schools but the DOE audits performance of these schools. The DOE also makes recommendations to state leaders concerning education spending and policies.

Public school districts

See also: List of school districts in Maine

Maine has four types of school departments: the first is a local school, one which serves only one municipality, and is headed by a superintendent. Usually, it serves kindergarten through grade 12, although some only go to grade 8. Usually, independent school districts which do not have a high school are not totally independent; they are part of a school union, the second type of school district.

A school union is two or more school departments that share a superintendent but nothing else; each town has an independent school board. Usually, only one of the schools in the school union has a high school, but unlike MSADs (discussed below), students in the whole school union are not compelled to attend that school. School union students are given a choice of neighboring school districts, and the school union pays for the student's tuition.

The third type is a MSAD (Maine School Administrative District). This is a regional school district that incorporates two or more towns into one school department with one high school and middle school. These towns do not have independent school boards, but instead have one central board governing the entire district. Students are obligated to attend the central high school. Usually, a MSAD comprises one larger town and one or more smaller towns. The larger town is equipped with a high school and middle school, while the surrounding towns have elementary schools as well, but no secondary schools. The elementary schools usually cut off after grade 5 or grade 6. Sometimes, towns in a MSAD do not have an elementary school but possess a high school and/or middle school, whereas the surrounding towns have the elementary schools.

The last type of school district is a CSD (Community School District, sometimes called a Consolidated School District). This usually (but not always) exists in school districts with such a small student population between several towns that the school district cannot justify an elementary school outside the largest town in the district. In rare cases a CSD refers to only a high school of a school union. Sometimes, in towns geographically isolated (such as island towns) the entire student population attends one school grades PK–12.

Students can choose to attend a school in another district if the parents agree to pay the school tuition. Vocational centers are usually regional, so one school department will administer a technical center but other school districts will transport their students there to take classes.


Education in Maine Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.