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 (2012-13)
- Students participating: 5,646
- Schools participating: 50
- Average voucher value: $7,347 (K-8), $9,317 (9-12), $8,873 (out of state)
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 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
• Prior Year Public School Requirement: None
• Geographic Limit: District (without elementary or high school)
• Enrollment Cap: None
• Voucher Cap: $7,347 (K-8) / $9,317 (9-12)
• Testing Mandates: Conditional - state assessment tests
Maine Rev. Stat. 20-A §§ 2951-55
Robbie Rhinesmith | firstname.lastname@example.org
How to apply: http://www.maine.gov/education/data/tuitionrates/tuit14/ptuit14.html