State law encourages districts to operate alternative school programs or to ensure access to educational services to expelled students in an alternative setting.
Code of Maine Rules 05.071.127 Instructional program assessment and diploma requirements
Section 3. General requirements K-12
- 3.04 Alternative Programs
- A. Role of Alternative Programs
A school administrative unit may establish or participate in one or more programs as alternatives to the regular course of study to meet the needs of students at risk. Alternative programs shall support student social and behavioral development in addition to performance on the content Standard of the system of Learning Results.
These programs shall have stated goals, objectives, and procedures for implementing and assessing their effectiveness. Such programs may include interventions such as programs outside the school administrative unit, specialized instructional settings, extended or shortened school day, or extended school year, and may be scheduled outside of the regular school day, if appropriate.
- B. Procedural Requirements School administrative units shall develop a Personal Learning Plan, aligned with the system of Learning Results, for every K-12 student enrolled in an alternative program. Each Personal Learning Plan shall include, but not be limited to, the following components:
- 1). A description of the student's academic strengths and the observable or measurable areas in need of improvement.
- 2). A description of the annual educational goals, aligned with the content Standard and performance indicators of the system of Learning Results, that the student may reasonably be expected to achieve during the school year.
- 3). A description of short-term instructional objectives leading to each annual educational goal.
- 4). A description of the social and behavioral needs that must be addressed for the student to achieve academic success, including strategies to keep the student in school.
- 5). A description of the multiple measures that will provide evidence that the student has achieved each goal.
- 6). For secondary school students, a description of the student's career goals and transitional steps to achieve them.
Code of Maine Rules 05.071.128 Truants and dropouts guidelines
Section 13. Developing Alternative Programs
The legislation encourages school units to establish alternative programs for dropouts and chronic (habitual) truants. Although the word "encouraged" is used, the primary intent of the legislation is to provide school units with the authority to establish programs for the identified pupils.
When developing alternative programs, local school officials should give consideration to the following questions:
A. Do the programs provide for academic and non-academic pursuits in accordance with the needs of the individual student?
B. Do the programs include that which is necessary for meeting curriculum and graduation requirements provided by Statuteor local board policy?
C. Do the programs provide adequate instructional time equivalent to that required for regular school programs?
D. Are adequate instructional materials provided?
E. Can the programs be evaluated in terms of meeting stated objectives? Alternative programs may be developed and conducted under the direction of local school officials and may become operative within present school facilities during the regular school day. Likewise, alternative programs may be operated under the direction of local school officials outside the regular school facilities and school day. Regardless of which approach is followed, criteria should be developed to determine pupil eligibility for participation in these programs. A description of locally developed alternative programs is to be filed with this Department and the reporting process can be accomplished by using the data collection form.
It is possible that alternative programs may already exist or could be developed completely apart from local school jurisdiction. These programs could be operated by private individuals, groups, or agencies. If programs operated outside the school by private individuals, groups, or agencies seem appropriate in meeting the needs of the pupil, criteria for the programs should be developed by the local school officials and they should serve as a guide for the local approval of these programs. Such criteria should include the following:
A. The instruction is provided by qualified individuals. The qualifications might be evidenced by a valid teaching credential, a valid license (trade, etc.) in the area of content being presented, or expertise gained through long experience in the content of the specific program (adult education programs).
B. The quality of instruction is equivalent to that provided in the regular public school.
C. The facilities housing the program meet all fire safety, health, and sanitation Standard.
D. The program is designed to provide adequate instructional time to meet its stated objectives.
E. There is provision for program evaluation.
Any alternative programs developed under this legislation shall be submitted to the local school board for approval.
Maine Revised Statutes 20-A 1. Definitions
1-B. Alternative education program. “Alternative education program” means a program in which the primary purpose is to provide at-risk students with curricula and assessment in a setting designed to effectively meet the student’s academic, social and relational needs.
1-C. Alternative learning. “Alternative learning” means an educational option that a public school or publicly supported program offers at-risk students by offering some combination of the following: alternative education programs; small class size; flexible scheduling; relevant alternative curricula and assessment; mentoring adults; skilled teachers; a focus on social, emotional and relationship skills; collaboration among home, school and social service agencies; and any other measures designed to accommodate the needs of at-risk students.
Maine Revised Statutes 20-A 3271. Compulsory attendance at school
- Required Attendance. Persons residing in the unorganized territory who are at least 6 years of age and under 17 years of age shall attend a public day elementary or secondary school or an approved private school during the time it is in session.
1-A. Attendance of persons 5 years of age or older and under 7 years of age. A person 5 years of age or older and under 6 years of age who is enrolled in and who has not withdrawn from a public day school is required to attend that school during the time it is in session.
- Alternative instruction. Alternative instruction may be substituted for attendance in a day school in the following cases when approved by the school principal. A person 5 years of age or older and under 6 years of age is not required to meet the requirements of this subsection.
A. The person is enrolled in an approved special education program.
B. The person obtains equivalent instruction through alternative learning or in any other manner arranged or approved by the commissioner.
- Exceptions. Attendance at school or an alternative education program is not required of:
A. A person who has graduated from high school before the person’s 17th birthday;
B. A person who is at least 15 years old, has completed the 9th grade and has permission to leave school to participate in a suitable program of training or combined work and study from a parent and the commissioner; and
C. A person who has been adjudged a truant and has been excused from attendance pursuant to procedures established by the commissioner.
Maine Revised Statutes 20-A 3801. Generals Provisions
- Definitions. As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
A. “Municipality” means a city, town or organized plantation.
B. “Education service center” means a multiservice agency established and operated exclusively for the purposes of developing, managing and providing services or programs to 2 or more members pursuant to section 3802, subsection 2 and may include associate members pursuant to section 3802, subsection 3. An “education service center” is a political subdivision pursuant to section 3802, subsection 7.
Establishment. A school administrative unit as described in section 3802, subsection 2 may become a member of an education service center through an interlocal agreement pursuant to Title 30-A, chapter 115 and the agreement may include associate members as described in section 3802, subsection 3.
Interlocal agreement. An interlocal agreement establishing an education service center must include the structure and governance of the education service center and its functions, programs and services.
A. An interlocal agreement must include the specifications required pursuant to Title 30-A, section 2203, subsection 2 and a description of:
(1) The education service center board composition, election or appointment of officers, board member terms and method of voting;
(2) An approval process for a new school administrative unit to join the education service center;
(3) An approval process for an existing member to transfer to another education service center;
(4) The process for determining the sharing of costs for and the assessments of or payments to the education service center;
(5) The budget process that requires an education service center budget be adopted by a date established in order to meet local school administrative unit budget deadlines. The budget process must include a contingency plan for a budget failure and must be in the cost center summary budget format pursuant to section 1485;
(6) The process for a balanced budget as required by section 3802, subsection 10 and the method of determining the return of any excess funds to the members of the education service center; and
(7) The process for the disposition of indebtedness and property including by sale or lease, transferred to or from or administered by the education service center.
B. An interlocal agreement may include but is not limited to a description of the following:
(1) The approval process for the formation of an education service center;
(2) Any associate members, the process for including associate members and their roles in the education service center;
(3) The process to authorize the education service center to borrow funds for school construction purposes including bonds and notes;
(4) The process to approve the purchase or lease of buildings or land by the education service center;
(5) The process by which an education service center may establish, maintain and expend funds from a reserve fund or contingency fund;
(6) The process of hiring an executive director or contracting services for leadership for the education service center; and
(7) A transition plan to move authorized programs and services from a member to the education service center.
An interlocal agreement cannot transfer a school administrative unit’s responsibility for providing the opportunity of a free public education to each of its students or a free, appropriate education to each of its students with a disability as required by this Title or by federal law.
- Duties of education service center. An education service center’s functions, programs and services may include but are not limited to the following:
A. Accounting, payroll and financial management services and procurement;
B. Transportation, transportation routing and vehicle maintenance;
C. Reporting functions;
D. Special education programs and administration;
E. Gifted and talented programs and administration;
F. Alternative education programs and administration;
G. Substitute teachers and staff augmentation;
H. Technology and technology support;
I. Food service planning and purchasing;
J. Energy management and facilities maintenance;
K. [2019, c. 70, § 3 (RP).]
L. Staff training and professional development;
M. Shared educational programs or staff;
N. Shared support service programs;
O. Educational programs such as summer school, extended school year, tutoring, advanced placement and other programs that serve students and improve student achievement;
P. Shared extracurricular or cocurricular programs; and
Q. Superintendent services.
Maine Revised Statutes 20-A 4729. Alternative education programs
A school administrative unit may establish one or more alternative education programs that are in alignment with the system of learning results established in section 6209 as alternatives to the regular course of study, including options allowed in sections 5104-A and 8605, to meet the needs of at-risk students.
Coordination. These programs shall operate as part of the elementary or secondary school program.
Alternative schedules. Alternative education programs may allow students to attend school part-time. Alternative education programs may be scheduled apart from the regular school day.
Maine Revised Statutes 20-A 5151. Technical assistance for truants, dropout prevention and reintegration and alternative education
The commissioner shall provide technical assistance regarding truancy, dropouts and reintegration and alternative education programs. To do this, the commissioner shall employ at least one consultant whose responsibility is to cover the area of truancy, dropouts and alternative education.
Qualifications. Any consultant must be knowledgeable in the problems of truancy, dropouts and reintegration and policies and programs.
Duties. The consultant shall:
A. Provide technical assistance to school administrative units and private schools approved for tuition purposes to establish alternative education programs;
B. Develop screening tools for early identification of potential dropouts;
C. Act as a clearinghouse for information on alternative education programs in the State, on exemplary programs in other states and on research pertaining to the subject, and promote effective programs;
D. Function as a liaison among the commissioner, department staff, advisory committee and school administrative units and private schools as it pertains to truants, dropouts and reintegration, alternative education programs, alternative learning and adult education;
E. Develop model curricula and programs for alternative education schools and programs;
F. Assess and provide for the evaluation of alternative education programs consistent with the Standard established by the commissioner;
G. Develop training programs for superintendents, principals and school attendance officers to improve effectiveness in performance of their duties as pertains to truants, dropouts and reintegration and alternative education programs;
H. Develop and submit a plan on behalf of the commissioner for the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over education and the state board on the prevalence of truancy and dropouts, assess alternative and adult education programs and prepare positive strategies to prevent and remedy the problems identified, including reintegration planning for juvenile offenders who have been released from juvenile facilities and are enrolling in schools in the State;
I. Have the responsibility for preventive programs and alternative education programs;
J. Collect data on the scope of the dropout and truancy problem in the State, including data on the number of students who are expelled from school and the number who are readmitted to school after expulsion;
K. Evaluate the scope of the problem of dropouts and truants and programs and policies directed to meet it, including reintegration planning and aftercare services provided for juvenile offenders who have been released from juvenile facilities and have enrolled in schools in the State;
L. Provide staff services to the advisory committee; and
M. Plan and coordinate programs and grant writing to stimulate programs and research on the problem of dropouts, truants, alternative education, alternative learning and adult education.