Public education in Maine
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|K-12 Education in Maine|
|State Superintendent: Stephen Bowen|
|Number of students: 188,969|
|Number of teachers: 14,888|
|Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:12.7|
|Number of school districts: 260|
|Number of schools: 621|
|Graduation rate: 85%|
|Per-pupil spending: $11,438|
|Maine Department of Education • List of school districts in Maine • Maine • School boards portal|
|Education policy project|
|Public education in the United States |
Public education in Maine
Glossary of education terms
|Note: The statistics on this page are mainly from government sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Education Statistics. Figures given are the most recent as of June 2014, with school years noted in the text or footnotes.|
- 1 State agencies
- 2 Regional comparison
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Academic performance
- 5 Educational choice options
- 6 Education funding and expenditures
- 7 Organizations
- 8 Taxpayer-funded lobbying
- 9 Transparency
- 10 Studies and reports
- 11 School districts
- 12 Education ballot measures
- 13 See also
- 14 External links
- 15 References
List of school districts in Maine
Public education in Maine
School board elections portal
|“||The Maine Department of Education's mission is to provide leadership and to collaborate with educators and learning communities in order to ensure that every learner has the opportunity to be successful. The Department is working toward an education system that engages and challenges every student, is customized to each student's individual needs and harnesses the power of technology to enhance and individualize learning.||”|
The Commissioner of Education is the chief official of the Department of Education and is nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the state legislature. The current Commissioner of Education is Jim Rier.
The Maine State Board of Education "acts in an advisory capacity to the Commissioner of Education in matters concerning state education laws and makes education policy recommendations to the legislative and executive branches of state government."
Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The Maine Department of Education adopted the standards on April 4, 2011. Full implementation took place during the 2012-2013 academic year.
- See also: General comparison table for education statistics in the 50 states
- See also: Education spending per pupil in all 50 states
The following chart shows how Maine compares to three neighboring states with respect to number of students, schools, the number of teachers per pupil, and the number of administrators per pupil. Further comparisons between these states with respect to performance and financial information are given in other sections of this page.
|State||Schools||Districts||Students||Teachers||Teacher/pupil ratio||Administrator/pupil ratio||Per pupil spending|
| Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey", 2011-12 v.1a.|
National Center for Education Statistics, Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12
The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Maine as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.
|Demographic information for Maine's K-12 public school system|
|Ethnicity||Students||State Percentage||United States Percentage**|
|Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. students||185||0.10%||0.42%|
|Two or more||2,156||1.14%||2.54%|
|**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.|
Enrollments by region type
A majority of students in Maine attend rural schools. Approximately 76 percent of the state's students attend rural or town schools, compared to approximately 24 percent who attend city or suburban schools.
|Student distribution by region type, 2011 - 2012 (as percents)|
|State||City schools||Suburban schools||Town schools||Rural schools|
|Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD) (timed out)|
- See also: NAEP scores by state
The National Center for Education Statistics provides state-by-state data on student achievement levels in mathematics and reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Compared to three neighboring states (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont), Maine's had the smallest share of students (both fourth and eighth graders) who scored at or above proficient in math and reading.
|Percent of students scoring at or above proficient, 2012-2013|
|Math - Grade 4||Math - Grade 8||Reading - Grade 4||Reading - Grade 8|
|Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014|
|NAEP assessment data for all students 2012-2013|
Graduation, ACT and SAT scores
|Comparison table for graduation rates and test scores*|
|State||Graduation rate, 2012||Average ACT Composite, 2012||Average SAT Composite, 2013|
|Percent||Quintile ranking**||Score||Participation rate||Score||Participation rate|
| *Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Rate (except for Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, which did not report “Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate,” but instead used their own method of calculation).|
**Graduation rates for states in the first quintile ranked in the top 20 percent nationally. Similarly, graduation rates for states in the fifth quintile ranked in the bottom 20 percent nationally.
Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express
- See also: Public high school dropout rates by state for a full comparison of dropout rates by group in all states
The high school event dropout rate indicates the proportion of students who were enrolled at some time during the school year and were expected to be enrolled in grades 9–12 in the following school year but were not enrolled by October 1 of the following school year. Students who have graduated, transferred to another school, died, moved to another country, or who are out of school due to illness are not considered dropouts. The average public high school event dropout rate for the United States remained constant at 3.3 percent for both SY 2010–11 and SY 2011–12. The event dropout rate for Maine was higher than the national average at 3.5 percent in the 2010-2011 school year. The dropout rate was lower than the national average at 3.2 percent in the 2011-2012 school year.
Educational choice options
- See also: School choice in Maine
School choice options in Maine include: charter schools, a limited voucher program, an inter-district enrollment policy and some online learning programs. In addition, about 9.35 percent of school age children in the state attended private schools in the 2011-12 academic year, and an estimated 2.67 percent were homeschooled in 2012-13.
Education funding and expenditures
- See also: Maine state budget and finances
According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), the state spent approximately 13.1 percent of its fiscal year 2012 budget on elementary and secondary education. As a share of the budget, this is down 5.7 percentage points, or 30.3 percent, from fiscal year 2008, when the state spent 18.8 percent of its budget on elementary and secondary education.
|Comparison of financial figures for school systems|
|State||Percent of budget (2012)||Per pupil spending (2011)||Revenue sources (2011)|
|Percent federal funds||Percent state funds||Percent local funds|
| Sources: NASBO, "State Expenditure Report," Table 8: Elementary and Secondary Education Expenditures As a Percent of Total Expenditures |
U.S. Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011,Governments Division Reports," issued May 2013
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system revenues in Maine totaled approximately $2.6 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including revenue sources, for Maine and surrounding states.
|Revenues by source, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Federal revenue||State revenue||Local revenue||Total revenue|
|Source: National Center for Education Statistics|
|Public school revenues by source, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system expenditures in Maine totaled approximately $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including expenditure types, for Maine and surrounding states.
|Expenditures by type, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Current expenditures**||Capital outlay||Other***||Total expenditures|
| **Funds spent operating local public schools and local education agencies, including such expenses as salaries for school personnel, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs, but excluding capital outlay, interest on school debt, payments to private schools, and payments to public charter schools.|
***Includes payments to state and local governments, payments to private schools, interest on school system indebtedness, and nonelementary-secondary expenditures, such as adult education and community services expenditures.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
|Public school expenditures, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average national salary for classroom teachers in public elementary and secondary schools has declined by 1.3 percent from the 1999-2000 school year to the 2012-2013 school year. During the same period in Maine, the average salary decreased by one percent.
|Estimated average salaries for teachers (in constant dollars**)|
|**"Constant dollars based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to a school-year basis. The CPI does not account for differences in inflation rates from state to state."|
In 2012 the Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now assessed the power and influence of state teacher unions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their rankings were based on 37 different variables in five broad areas, including: resources and membership, involvement in politics, scope of bargaining, state policies and perceived influence. Maine ranked 22nd overall, or "average," which was in the third of five tiers.
The main union related to the Maine school system is the Maine Education Association (MEA), an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA). For the 2003 tax period MEA had: $6.47 million in total revenue, $6.63 million in total expenses and $2.63 million in total assets.
List of local Maine school unions:
- Maine Education Association
- Portland Educators Association
- Medomak Valley Education Association
- Oxford Hills Teachers Association
- Bangor Education Foundation
- Sabattus Education Association
- See also: Maine government sector lobbying
The main education government sector lobbying organization is the Maine School Boards Association.
Maine’s audit reports are published online by the Department of Audit. The Maine Department of Audit's primary responsibility is to audit the state's financial statements and federal program expenditures.
Studies and reports
Quality Counts 2014
- See also: Quality Counts 2014 Report
Education Week, a publication that reports on many education issues throughout the country, began using an evaluation system in 1997 to grade each state on various elements of education performance. This system, called Quality Counts, uses official data on performance from each state to generate a report card for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report card in 2014 uses six different categories:
- Chance for success
- K-12 achievement
- Standards, assessments and accountability
- The teaching profession
- School finance
- Transitions and Alignment
Each of these six categories had a number of other elements that received individual scores. Those scores were then averaged and used to determine the final score in each category. Every state received two types of scores for each of the six major categories: A numerical score out of 100 and a letter grade based on that score. Education Week used the score for the first category, "chance for success," as the value for ranking each state and the District of Columbia. The average grade received in the entire country was 77.3, or a C+ average. The country's highest average score was in the category of "standards, assessments and accountability" at 85.3, or a B average. The lowest average score was in "K-12 achievement", at 70.2, or a C- average.
Maine received a score of 78.8, or a C+ average in the "chance for success" category. This was above the national average. The state's highest score was in "school finance" at 83.9, or a B average. The lowest score was in "the teaching profession" at 67.8, or a D+ average. Maine had the second lowest score for "standards, assessments and accountability" in the country at 69.6. The chart below displays the scores of Maine and its surrounding states.
Note: Click on a column heading to sort the data.
|Public education report cards, 2014|
|State||Chance for success||K-12 achievement||Standards, assessments and accountability||The teaching profession||School finance||Transitions and Alignment|
|Maine||78.8 (C+)||72.6 (C)||69.6 (C-)||67.8 (D+)||83.9 (B)||82.1 (B-)|
|Massachusetts||91.4 (A-)||83.7 (B)||88.4 (B+)||78.7 (C+)||83.5 (B)||75.0 (C)|
|New Hampshire||88.0 (B+)||78.8 (C+)||76.0 (C)||63.9 (D)||81.4 (B-)||78.6 (C+)|
|Vermont||86.4 (B)||77.3 (C+)||82.7 (B)||70.6 (C-)||86.0 (B)||71.4 (C-)|
|United States Average||77.3 (C+)||70.2 (C-)||85.3 (B)||72.5 (C)||75.5 (C)||81.1 (B-)|
| Source: Education Week, "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 18, 2015|
A full discussion of how these numbers were generated can be found here.
State Budget Solutions education study
State Budget Solutions examined national trends in education from 2009 to 2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates and average ACT scores. The study showed that the states that spent the most did not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor did they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. The full report can be accessed here.
- See also: School board elections portal
School districts in Maine are divided into six different types:
- School administrative districts serve two or more participating cities, towns or plantations and make up the majority of school district in Maine.
- Community school districts are school administrative units formed between two or more participating cities, towns, or plantations for any combination of grades K-12.
- Incorporated school districts serve a single city or town.
- Interstate school districts provide for the construction and operation of schools.
- Applied technology regions are established institutions that provide vocational education.
- Indian school districts are independent school district governments that elect tribal school committee governs each school under the laws applicable to school administrative units.
School board composition
School board members are elected by residents of the school district. School boards are composed of at least one member from each municipality or sub-district otherwise stated. In municipalities with annual elections, directors serve three-year terms. In municipalities with biennial elections, directors serve four-year terms. Should a vacancy occur, an interim board member is selected until the next election.
While Maine imposes term limits on statewide offices, they do not impose them on school board members.
No top enrollment districts in Maine are scheduled to hold elections in 2015.
Path to the ballot
Candidates for local school boards in Maine must:
- Collect a minimum of 300 signatures from registered Maine voters. They must also have each petition verified by its circulator.
- Have all aforementioned signatures certified by the applicable registrar of voters prior to filing with the Secretary of State.
- Have the registrar of voters in the municipality where you are registered to vote complete the "Certification of Unenrollment."
- Sign a "Candidate’s Consent" before a notary public.
- Present the petitions to the Secretary of State for review.
- Comply with the campaign finance law regarding registration, record keeping and reporting requirements.
Education ballot measures
Ballotpedia has tracked the following statewide ballot measures relating to education.
- Maine Asbestos and Air Quality Hazards in State Facilities and Public Schools, Question 9 (1989)
- Maine Baxter School for the Deaf Safety Improvements, Question 8 (1994)
- Maine Bond Interest for York County Vocational Education Center, Referendum Question No. 1 (1970)
- Maine Boys' Training Center, State Prison and Stevens School, Referendum Question No. 5 (1965)
- Maine Capitalize School Revolving Renovation Fund, Question 4 (2001)
- Maine College and Vocational-Technical Classroom Facilities, Referendum Question No. 2 (1967)
- Maine Colleges and Vocational-Technical Institutes Student Housing and Dining, Referendum Question No. 4 (1967)
- Maine Common Core Referendum (2015)
- Maine Community College System Building Upgrade Bond, Question 5 (2013)
- Maine Cost-Sharing Taxes for Education, Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 6 (1978)
- Maine Educational Facilities and Land Acquisition, Referendum Question No. 9 (1969)
- Maine Educational Television Network, Referendum Question (1962)
- Maine Educational and Cultural Improvements, Question 3 (2007)
- Maine Emergency School Maintenance Problems, Question No. 3 (1990)
- Maine Farmington State College Women's Dormitories, Referendum Question No. 2B (1968)
- Maine Fort Kent State College Multi-Purpose Building, Referendum Question No. 1 (1967)
- Maine Foundation Program School Subsidies, Referendum Question No. 4 (1969)
- Maine Gould Academic Building Appropriations Use, Referendum Question No. 4 (1970)
- Maine Higher Education Campuses Improvements, Question 6 (2005)
- Maine Higher Education Loans, Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 2 (1967)
- Maine Higher Education Loans, Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 3 (1971)
- Maine Higher Education Loans to Parents, Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 2 (1982)
- Maine Leavitt Hall at Maine Maritime Academy Renovation, Referendum Question No. 2 (1977)
- Maine Maritime Academy Dining Facility, Referendum Question No. 1 (1963)
- Maine Maritime Academy Dormitories, Referendum Question No. 2A (1968)
- Maine Maritime Academy Pier Reconstruction, Question 5 (1987)
- Maine Native American Reservation School, Water and Sewage Facilities, Referendum Question No. 1 (1968)
- Maine Northern Vocational-Technical Institute Dormitory, Referendum Question (1978)
- Maine Old Age Assistance and Minimum Education, Referendum Question (1937)
- Maine Public Learning Centers Improvements, Question 6 (2001)
- Maine Repeal of the School Consolidation Laws (2008)
- Maine School, Technical and Vocational Centers Construction, Referendum Question No. 6 (1967)
- Maine School, Technical and Vocational Centers Construction, Referendum Question No. 7 (1969)
- Maine School Building Authority Bond Issue Adjustment, Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 3 (1981)
- Maine School Building Authority and Municipal Debt Limits, Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 3 (1955)
- Maine School Building Construction, Referendum Question No. 2 (1970)
- Maine School Building Construction, Referendum Question No. 2 (1974)
- Maine School Bus Acquisition, Question 8 (1987)
- Maine School Compliance with Educational Reform Law and Mental Health Institute Activity Building, Bond Issue 4 (1986)
- Maine School Consolidation Referendum (2008)
- Maine School Consolidation Repeal and Replacement, Question 3 (2009)
- Maine School Finance and Tax Reform, Question 1 (2003)
- Maine School Finance and Tax Reform Carry-over, Question 1 (2004)
- Maine School Revolving Renovation Fund, Sprinkler Grants and Homeless Center for Teenagers, Question 1 (2002)
- Maine State Guaranteed Loans for Private Colleges, Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 1 (1969)
- Maine State Insured School Building Authority Loans, Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 4 (1969)
- Maine State Teachers College Student Housing, Referendum Question No. 2 (1961)
- Maine State Teachers Colleges Student Housing, Referendum Question No. 3 (1963)
- Maine Statewide Library Information System, Question 1 (1996)
- Maine Teachers Colleges and Vocational-Technical Schools Student Housing and Dining, Referendum Question No. 1 (1965)
- Maine Technical Colleges Infrastructure Improvements, Question 6 (1999)
- Maine Telecommunications Infrastructure and Classroom Technology Equipment, Question 3 (1995)
- Maine Training Equipment for Technical Colleges, Question 7 (1994)
- Maine Tuition for Unemployed, Full-Time Technical College Students, Question 5 (1992)
- Maine University, Community College, Maritime Academy and State Library Improvements, Question 5 (2003)
- Maine University Buildings, Bond Issue 3 (1984)
- Maine University Capital Improvements, Referendum Question No. 4 (1965)
- Maine University Classroom Expansion and Improvement, Referendum Question No. 1 (1969)
- Maine University Classroom Expansion and Improvement, Referendum Question No. 2 (1972)
- Maine University Classroom Expansion and Improvement, Referendum Question No. 3 (1970)
- Maine University Classroom Facilities Expansion, Referendum Question No. 4 (1967)
- Maine University Construction and Renovations, Referendum Question No. 3 (1977)
- Maine University Housing, Referendum Question No. 3 (1959)
- Maine University Housing, Referendum Question No. 3 (1965)
- Maine University Housing Renovation, Referendum Question No. 1 (1975)
- Maine University Research and Advanced Study Building, Referendum Question No. 7 (1967)
- Maine University System Academic Improvements, Question 4 (1994)
- Maine University System Bond, Question 2 (2013)
- Maine University System Construction and Upgrades, Question 6 (1988)
- Maine University System Facilities Upgrade, Bond Issue 9 (1986)
- Maine Veterans' Mortgage Loans and School Building Authority Bond Issue Adjustments (1976)
- Maine Vocational-Technical Institutes Buildings and Maritime Academy Tugboat, Bond Issue 1 (1984)
- Maine Vocational-Technical Institutes Construction Projects, Referendum Question No. 4 (1977)
- Maine Vocational-Technical Institutes Equipment and Land Purchases, Bond Issue 7 (1985)
- Maine Vocational-Technical Institutes System Capital Improvements, Question 5 (1989)
- Maine Vocational-Technical Institutes and Boys Training Center Funding, Referendum Question No. 2 (1970)
- Maine Vocational-Technical Institutes and Maritime Academy Improvements, Referendum Question (1980)
- Maine Vocational High Schools Capital Expenses, Question 3 (1998)
- Maine Vocational Technical and Reservation Schools Funding, Referendum Question No. 1 (1972)
- Maine York County Regional Vocational Education Center, Referendum Question No. 6 (1965)
- Maine state budget and finances
- Maine Department of Education
- List of school districts in Maine
- School choice in Maine
- Charter schools in Maine
- Education Policy in the U.S.
- Maine Department of Education (MDOE)
- Maine State Board of Education
- Yearly AYP status of Maine schools (MDOE)
- MDOE Legislation and Rulemaking
- National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
- ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
- United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD); Table 2.—Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011-12," accessed May 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, "ED Data Express," accessed May 12, 2014
- Maine Department of Education, "Inside DOE," accessed May 20, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Maine Revised Statutes, "Title 20-A, Part 1, Chapter 3, Subchapter 2, Section 251," accessed May 20, 2014
- Maine Department of Education, "Commissioner's Office," accessed May 20, 2014
- Maine State Board of Education, "About the Maine State Board of Education," accessed May 20, 2014
- Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed June 12, 2014
- Maine Department of Education, "Maine Learning Results: Updated To Reflect the Common Core Standards," accessed June 17, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
- United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014
- ACT, "2012 ACT National and State Scores," accessed May 13, 2014
- Commonwealth Foundation, "SAT Scores by State 2013," October 10, 2013
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Dropout and Graduation Rate Data File, School Year 2010-11, Provision Version 1a and School Year 2011-12, Preliminary Version 1a," accessed May 13, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2011-2013," accessed February 21, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2010–11," accessed May 13, 2014 (timed out)
- Maciver Institute, "REPORT: How much are teachers really paid?," accessed October 29, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 211.60. Estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, 1969-70 through 2012-13," accessed May 13, 2014
- Thomas E Fordham Institute, " How Strong Are U.S. Teacher Unions? A State-By-State Comparison," October 29, 2012
- Center for Union Facts, "Maine Education Association," accessed May 12, 2010
- Center for Union Facts, "Maine teachers unions," accessed May 12, 2010
- Department of Audit, "Home page," accessed October 24, 2009
- Education Week "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 19, 2015
- United States Census Bureau, "Maine," accessed July 11, 2014
- MSBA Handbook, "School Structure and Governance," accessed July 11, 2014
- Maine Secretary of State, "Maine Candidate Guide," accessed July 11, 2014
State of Maine
|State executive officers||
Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | State Auditor | Commissioner of Education | Superintendent of Insurance | Commissioner of Agriculture | Commissioner of Conservation | Commissioner of Labor | Chairman of Public Utilities |