charter schools

In Monday’s special session bonds will dominate the action, but Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has submitted two bills to fix mistakes that cannot wait for the January session, including one to allow the Maine Ocean School, a magnet high school in Searsport, to continue to operate.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine could increase or limit the number of charter schools in the state under new bills.
Lawmakers are set to hold hearings on at least three bills addressing charter schools on Monday.
Currently, the Maine Charter School Commission can only approve 10 public charter schools. That cap expires in July 2022.
While Republican Sen. Matt Pouliot's bill would remove that cap, Democratic Rep. Michael Brennan's bill would make the limit permanent.

Students at Snow Pond Arts Academy spend the morning studying theater, music and dance before using an online curriculum in the afternoon.
Snow Pond Arts Academy

The Snow Pond Arts Academy charter school in Sidney had an ambitious goal — to be the first public school in Maine to use a model called “blended learning,” in which most of student work takes place in an online platform. But after only a year, the school is abandoning its virtual approach.

When the Snow Pond Arts Academy launched last fall, it was the first charter school with a performing arts focus, but it also embraced so-called “blended learning” where some learning occurs in a classroom, but much happens online.

Students at Snow Pond Arts Academy spend the morning studying theater, music and dance before using an online curriculum in the afternoon.
Snow Pond Arts Academy

Across the state, about 800 middle and high school students wake up every morning, log on to their computers, and take all of their classes completely online. They’re enrolled in to Maine’s two virtual charter schools. This year, that same, online approach is also being used by brick-and-mortar schools, as well. The track record for online and blended learning is mixed nationally. The question now is if Maine’s schools can buck the trend.

For Tiffany Jones, teaching English only requires a computer and an internet connection.

  Maine’s newest charter school will focus on the performing arts.

The state’s charter school commission gave its unanimous approval this week to Snow Pond Academy, a high school that will open in September and be based in Sidney on Messalonskee Lake.

The commission is also considering a proposal for a new program at the state’s first charter school in Fairfield, focusing on pregnant and parenting teens.

Charter School Supporters Rally in Augusta

Jan 25, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine - Supporters of school choice held rallies across the nation today. The gatherings, marking the kickoff of National School Choice Week, included an afternoon event at the state capitol in Augusta.

Denise Perkins' daughter is a sophomore at Maine Connections Academy, one of two online charter schools in the state.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Two groups hoping to open charter schools have pitched their proposals ahead of next month's vote from the Maine Charter School Commission.

The Portland Press Herald reports that Acadia Academy in Lewiston-Auburn and Snow Pond Arts Academy in Sidney went over details of their proposals before the commission Monday during interviews and public hearings.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Two of the four groups that hope to open new charter schools in Maine have advanced to the next stage of the review process.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the Maine Charter School Commission voted Tuesday to move forward with Acadia Academy in Lewiston-Auburn and Snow Pond Arts Academy in Sidney. It won't continue talks with Inspire ME Academy and Peridot Montessori Education.

The second phase of the process includes interviews, a public hearing and an in-depth discussion of school plans.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ Four groups have applied for the last three charter school slots in Maine.

The Portland Press Herald reports that ME Academy, Peridot Montessori Education, Show Pond Arts Academy and Acadia Academy filed applications by Tuesday's deadline.

The Maine Charter School Commission will take a first vote Oct. 13 on advancing the new applications to the second phase of the review process. It will make a final decision on Nov. 17.

Schools approved by the commission would open in fall 2016.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Charter schools in Maine are in high demand as the school year gets underway.

The Portland Press Herald reports that fall enrollment figures show that most schools are operating at or near capacity.

The state's second virtual charter, Maine Virtual Academy, launches Tuesday with 296 students logging in, one shy of its 297-student cap. The year-old Maine Connections Academy, the state's first virtual charter school, is at capacity with 396 students and a waiting list of 140.

Courtesy: Baxter Academy

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine lawmakers are looking at a number of possible changes to the way charter schools are run in the state, including a proposed moratorium. A legislative committee today heard testimony on five different bills.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Historically, debate over charter schools in Maine has meant sharp disagreement between their supporters and those who believe they operate at the expense of traditional public schools and districts.  But in Augusta today, the two sides were more or less in agreement. Maine, they argued before the Legislature's Education Committee, must change how it funds charter schools.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Maine panel has given final approval to a group to open the state's second virtual charter school.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the Maine Charter School Commission approved Maine Virtual Academy's contract on Tuesday. The school plans to open this fall and will have about 300 students in grades 7 through 12.

Maine's first virtual charter school opened last fall.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine Senate Majority Leader Garret Mason, a Lisbon Falls Republican, has been a strong supporter of charter schools as an alternative to conventional public schools.

But he says he is committed to making sure students come first, so he is introducing legislation to make sure schools get the state funds needed to educate every student.

"We need to make sure that, if a child is in school, that the school that they are at is getting paid to educate that child," Mason says. "That's our obligation as a state."

PORTLAND, Maine — At least six organizations intend to apply for the last four available charter school slots in Maine.

The six proposals, including a virtual school that has applied the last three years, sent letters of intent to the Maine Charter School Commission by Wednesday's deadline.

Maine charter schools are publicly funded but operate independently of public school districts. By law, the state has a cap of 10 charter schools until 2021.