A Snapshot of Education in Maine

Students and Teachers

After peaking in the 1970s at close to 250,000 students, public school enrollment in Maine has been declining steadily. While projections are elusive, it's generally expected that enrollment will bottom out in the next few years and then begin to rise again, but at a much slower pace than that of the recent decline.

  • Maine's public schools educated 185,767 students during the 2012-13 school year. The schools they attend employ 15,324 teachers and 1,069 administrators. In 1998, there were 214,842 students.
  • As of April 1, 2013, 14,156 students reportedly attended private schools. During the 2011-12 school year, 4,730 students were home-schooled.
  • For 2010-11, Maine high schools recorded a graduation rate of 85.1 percent and a dropout rate of 3.2 percent. Since 2009-10, graduation rate has improved and dropout rate has declined.

State Education Funding

Funding for education is a shared state and local responsibility. State funding to local school districts is based primarily on the Essential Programs and Services (EPS) formula. The Department of Education uses the formula to calculate the amount a district should expect to spend to provide an "adequate" education aligned with the Maine Learning Results academic standards, and determines the portion the state will pay based on available funds and local factors such as student enrollment and property values.

  • Maine distributed $895.5 million in general purpose aid to its public school units during the 2012-13 academic year.
  • Since the 2005-06 academic year, the state-funded share of the total EPS-determined cost of education has ranged from 45.87 percent in 2012-13 to 53.86 percent in 2006-07.
  • For 2012-13, while state funds cover 45.87 percent of the aggregate EPS-determined cost of education, they cover as little as 0.48 percent and as much as 99 percent of EPS-determined costs in individual districts.

Student Achievement

Maine students perform well overall nationally, typically ranking in the top tier of states by most national measures. However, Maine still isn't where it should be. For example, only 71.8 percent of Maine's students in grades three through eight scored proficient or better in reading on the 2012-13 New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) and the 2011-12 Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP).

Learn More Through the Data Warehouse

When the Maine DOE released the state’s School Performance Grading System in May 2013, the agency concurrently unveiled the Data Warehouse, a powerful tool in the arsenal of educators working to improve student achievement. It’s an equally powerful tool for parents and students who want to find out how their local schools are performing and how their performance compares to other Maine schools’, districts’ and the entire state’s. Explore the warehouse to see more easily understandable data on test scores, school spending and student and staff populations.