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TO:                  Superintendents of Schools


FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner


DATE:             August 13, 2004


RE:                  Update On Maine’s Unsafe School Choice Option Policy



            The Unsafe School Choice Option (USCO) (Section 9532 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965), as amended by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 requires each State receiving funds under ESEA to establish and implement a statewide policy requiring that students attending a persistently dangerous public elementary or secondary school, or students who become victims of a violent criminal offense while in or on the grounds of a public school they attend, be allowed to attend a safe public school.  Approximately one year ago, the USCO Policy that was adopted by the Maine Department of Education was shared with you in draft form as Informational Letter #86, dated June 11, 2003. 


            Since Informational Letter #86 was released, the Draft Policy has received final approval with no changes to the Criteria for Identification for Persistently Dangerous Schools and only minimal wording changes to the remainder of the document.  The latter were required to make the document applicable to subsequent years, and a copy is attached for your review and files. As required by the USCO Policy, data submitted by Maine LEAs through the one-time “Fax Back” forms collected one year ago, the No Child Left Behind Annual Performance Reports, and the Incidence of Prohibited Behaviors reports collected electronically through the Safe and Drug Free Schools Data Collection Process have been used to ascertain that for the past two years no Maine public elementary or secondary school has met or exceeded the criteria for designation as a persistently dangerous school.  While I am happy to report the above, some Maine schools have experienced violent criminal acts and I encourage you to carefully review the requirements pertaining to the transfer option for victims of a violent criminal offense (i.e., Section V of the enclosed USCO Policy).


            Any comments or questions regarding the USCO Policy and the related transfer options should be directed to David Stockford by telephone at 624-6650 or email to