Types of School Administrative Units in Maine

Maine's school administrative units use the following school governance structures.

Cities or Towns with Individual Supervision

A city or town with individual school supervision is a single municipality. A school committee administers the education of all grades in the city or town through a superintendent of schools. The city or town charter usually determines the method of budget approval leading up to approval by voters at referendum.

Regional School Units

A regional school unit (RSU) is a combination of two or more municipalities that pool their educational resources to educate all students. One school committee (comprised of representatives from each of the municipalities) administers the education of grades K-12 through a superintendent of schools. Budget approval is by majority vote of those present and voting at a district budget meeting followed by approval at referendum. The member municipalities share the RSU costs based on a formula that may factor in state valuation and/or the number of pupils as specified in their voter-approved reorganization plan.

Regional School Units Doing Business As School Administrative Districts

A regional school unit doing business as a school administrative district (RSU/SAD) is a combination of two or more municipalities that pool their educational resources to educate all students. One school committee (comprised of representatives from each of the municipalities) administers the education through a superintendent of schools. Budget approval is by majority vote of those present and voting at a district budget meeting followed by approval at referendum. The member municipalities share the RSU/SAD costs based on a formula that factors in state valuation and/or number of pupils. NOTE: There are a few SADs comprised of one town because of unique situations and private and special laws.

Community School Districts

A community school district (CSD) is a combination of two or more municipalities and/or districts formed to build, maintain, and operate a school building or buildings to educate any or all grades. For example, a CSD may be formed to build and operate a grade 7-12 school for all towns in the CSD. Those same towns will maintain individual control over the education of their K-6 students or belong to a school union. A community school district may also oversee education of all grades K-12.

CSD school committees are apportioned according to the one person-one vote principle. The member municipalities share the CSD costs, based on a formula that factors in number of pupils in each town and/or state valuation or any combination of each. Community School District budgets are approved by majority vote of voters present and voting at a district budget meeting followed by approval at referendum.

Alternative Organizational Structures

An alternative organizational structure (AOS) is a combination of two or more school administrative units joined together for the purpose of providing administrative and, sometimes, educational services. Administrative services provided by the AOS are system administration (a superintendent and the superintendent's office), special education administration, transportation administration and the business functions of accounting, reporting, payroll, financial management, purchases and audit.

Each member entity maintains its own budget, has its own school board, and is operated in every way as a separate unit except for the administrative services and those educational services indicated in the AOS reorganization plan. Budget approval is by majority vote of those present and voting at district budget meetings. The member entities share the AOS costs based on a formula specified in the AOS reorganization plan.

In addition, the AOS school committee is comprised of representatives from each of the member entity school boards and conducts the business of the AOS. All votes of the AOS school committee are cast in accordance with voting procedures specified in the AOS reorganization plan.

Unions of Towns

A Union is a combination of two or more school administrative units joined together for the purpose of sharing the costs of a superintendent and the superintendent's office. Each member school administrative unit maintains its own budget, has its own school board, and operates in every way as a separate unit except for the sharing of superintendent services.

In addition, a union school committee, which comprises representatives from each member unit school committee, conducts the business of the union. All votes of the union committee are cast on a weighted basis in proportion to the population of the towns involved.

Maine Indian Education

There are three tribal reservations in Maine. These three reservations are organized exactly as the union of towns described above.

Units Under Agent Supervision

A unit under agent supervision generally is a relatively small unit requiring less than full-time administration. Such units procure the services of superintendents on their own often by negotiating with a nearby superintendent and school board. Agents may be appointed by the commissioner on a temporary basis if the local unit is unable to locate a superintendent on its own.

Technology Center (19 Centers)

A technology center is a facility or program providing career and technical education to secondary students. A center is governed by a single school administrative unit. It may serve students from other affiliated school administrative units. It may include satellite center facilities and programs. A technology satellite program is a facility or program providing technical education to secondary students, which is administered by a school administrative unit affiliated with a technology center.

Technology Region (8 Regions)

A technology region is a quasi-municipal corporation established by the Legislature for the delivery of technology programs that comprises all school administrative units within the geographical boundaries set forth in 20-A MRSA, section 8451. A region is governed by a cooperative board formed and operating in accordance with 20-A MRSA, Chapter 313.

Education in the Unorganized Territory

Education in Maine's unorganized territory (E.U.T.) is a responsibility of the State. The education of territory children is accomplished by the state operating schools in unorganized townships.