General Residency Rule for Enrollment in Public Schools
Chapter 20-A, 5202
A person is eligible to attend schools in the school administrative unit:
- Where the person’s parent resides; or
- Where the person resides when they reach age 18; or
- Where the person resides if they become an emancipated minor.
In general, a student attends school in the school administrative unit where they live.
The “Superintendents’ Agreement” Exception
Under this exception, two superintendents may approve the transfer of a student from one school administrative unit to another school administrative unit (public unit to public unit only). Two conditions must first exist before such an approval can be arranged:
- Both superintendents find that a transfer is in a student’s best interest; and
- The student’s parent must approve, except where the student is considered majority age (age 18 or emancipated minor).
Please note that Superintendents’ Agreements:
- Can only occur between a student’s resident school administrative unit and the receiving school administrative unit that the student will be attending.
- Cannot be used by a school administrative unit to transfer a student that is not a resident of their unit.
Both the superintendent of the school administrative unit where the student resides and the superintendent of the school administrative unit where the student wishes to attend school must agree to the transfer. The transfer cannot take place if one or both of the superintendents involved denies the request.
However, the parent (or the student if age 18 or emancipated minor) has the right to petition the Commissioner of the Department of Education to review a denied transfer, except in cases where the receiving unit does not operate a public school at the student’s grade level. The Commissioner’s decision in turn may be appealed to the Maine Board of Education.
School administrative units are responsible to have on file a letter of agreement between the superintendent releasing a student or students and the superintendent accepting the student or students (please see Sample Forms section below). If either of the superintendents decides not to approve the transfer, that superintendent shall provide to the parent of the student requesting transfer under this paragraph a written description of the basis of that superintendent’s determination. A copy of denial communications to parents should be forwarded to the Commissioner’s office. Approved transfers should be entered in the student information system (please see the following detailed instructions under Student Information System Reporting Procedures).
Details Regarding Residency, Tuition and State Education Subsidy
No tuition may be charged under a Superintendents’ Agreement transfer.
The term “student” in this document means “subsidizable pupil”. "Subsidizable pupils" means all school level pupils who reside in a school administrative unit and who are educated at public expense at a public school or at a private school approved for tuition purposes. (20-A, MRSA, 15672, Sub- 32)
This transfer student provision effectively transfers the residency of a student from the student’s resident school administrative unit to the receiving school administrative unit where the student will be attending school, so that the receiving unit essentially “takes ownership” of the student.
Under a Superintendents’ Agreement, the receiving unit when the student actually attends school counts the student for state subsidy. The resident unit can no longer count the student for subsidy.
- Student resides in School Administrative Unit A
- Student wants to attend school in School Administrative Unit B
- School administrative units A and B create a Superintendents’ Agreement to transfer this student from school administrative unit A to school administrative unit B.
- When the agreement takes effect:
- school administrative unit B now receives the subsidy count for this student; and
- school administrative unit A no longer receives the subsidy count for this student.
Student Information System Reporting Procedures:
Based on the above example transfer approvals should be reported as follows:
- Resident Town - student is reported as a resident of municipality they live in – in school administrative unit A.
- Resident SAU - student is reported as a resident of school administrative unit A.
- Attending SAU - student is reported as attending in school administrative unit B.
- School - student is reported in the school that he or she is attending in school administrative unit B.
- Fiscal Responsibility - set to Superintendent Agreement
SAUs often use a form to collect transfer request information and to deliver decisions. The Department has created sample forms which may be adopted as part of the Superintendent transfer agreement process (optional):
School Enrollment Specialist
Maine Department of Education
23 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0023