Maine's Charter Rollout Raises Practical Issues
Maine, the latest state to allow charter schools, is wrestling with familiar questions about how those schools can co-exist with regular public districts—and how to manage the growth of the independent school sector to meet demand across the mostly rural state.
State lawmakers and Republican Gov. Paul R. LePage last year approved legislation that paves the way for cautious charter school expansion, allowing just 10 state-approved schools to open over the next decade. No such limits were placed on local school boards approving charters.
Two charter schools have been approved and opened so far, with two others having been given conditional approval and eight others under consideration. The relatively strong interest has led some supporters of the original law, including state education Commissioner Stephen Bowen, to say the state should already...
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