An Act To Expand School Choice for Maine Students
Sec. 1. 20-A MRSA §2405, sub-§1, as amended by PL 2011, c. 570, §4, is further amended to read:
Sec. 2. 20-A MRSA §2405, sub-§9, as amended by PL 2011, c. 570, §8, is repealed.
Sec. 3. 20-A MRSA §2412, sub-§2, ¶B, as enacted by PL 2011, c. 414, §5, is amended to read:
(1) The public charter school functions for all purposes as a local educational agency and is a school administrative unit independent of the school administrative unit in which the school is located. School administrative unit status does not preclude a public charter school from developing links to local school districts for services, resources and programs, by mutual agreement or by formal contract;
(2) To the extent permitted by federal, state or local laws, the public charter school is responsible for meeting the requirements of local educational agencies under applicable federal, state and local laws, including those relating to special education, receipt of funds and compliance with funding requirements; and
(3) To the extent permitted by federal, state or local laws, the public charter school has primary responsibility for special education at the school, including identification and provision of service, and is responsible for meeting the needs of enrolled students with disabilities.
Sec. 4. 20-A MRSA §2951, sub-§2, as enacted by PL 1981, c. 693, §§5 and 8, is repealed.
Sec. 5. 20-A MRSA §15689-A, sub-§20, as enacted by PL 2011, c. 380, Pt. C, §6, is amended to read:
This bill expands the publicly funded educational choices available to Maine students in several ways. It allows colleges and universities to authorize public charter schools and removes the 10-school limit on public charter schools authorized by the Maine Charter School Commission. The bill also allows private sectarian schools to receive public funds as long as they comply with standards applicable to other private schools.
The bill allows funding to be used to enable economically disadvantaged students to take advantage of school choice options available under current law. The funds may be used to pay for transportation and tuition for students who transfer to other public or private schools and to pay for room and board costs of a student attending a public charter school that is beyond a reasonable commuting distance from the student’s home. Currently, this funding may be used only for students enrolled in the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, which is designated as the State’s Center of Excellence for At-risk Students.