Launched 1873 • Voucher
Many small towns in Maine do not operate high schools, and some do not have elementary schools.
Students in those towns are eligible for vouchers to attend public schools in other towns or non-religious
private schools, even outside the state. The “sending” towns pay tuition directly to the “receiving”
schools. Although most towns allow parents to choose which schools will receive their students, some
towns send all their students to one school.
Latest Stats (2011-12)
- Students participating: 8,818
- Schools participating: 66
- Average voucher value: $7,347 (K-8), $9,317 (9-12), $8,873 (out of state)
Average voucher value as a percentage of
Maine’s total per-student spending ($12,452)
Public schools in Maine have a tuition rate that sending towns must pay when their students are
tuitioned at public schools. For private schools, the tuition rate for elementary students may not exceed
the average per-pupil cost on a statewide basis. For secondary pupils, the tuition rate is Maine’s average
per-pupil cost for secondary education in the previous year, plus what is known as the insured value
factor, an additional payment intended to cover depreciation of private schools’ buildings. Parents may
supplement that voucher with their own money. Voucher values vary from county to county based on
current per-student funding levels. Sending towns have the option of increasing the voucher to as high
as 115 percent of the per-student funding, but may not reduce the voucher below that rate.
Students must live in Maine and reside in an identified sending town that does not have a public school
at their grade level.
In 1981, the Maine legislature banned religious schools from participating in the Town Tuitioning Program that was first established in 1873. In 1999, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld the exclusion of religious schools. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review. After the 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of vouchers in Cleveland, the Institute for Justice and Maine families again asked a Maine court to overturn the 1981 law, but the exclusion of religious options was upheld. Anderson v. Town of Durham, 895 A.2d 944 (Me. 2006)
Rules & Regulations
- Income Limit: None
- Geographic Limit: District (w/o Elem or HS)
- Enrollment Cap: None
- Voucher Cap: $7,361 (K-8) /$9,238 (9-12)
- Testing Mandates: Conditional-State
Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, Chapter 117, sections 2951-2955
Robbie Rhinesmith | firstname.lastname@example.org