The Maine Department of Education is committed to providing guidance and support to our schools, educators, and leaders through a network of Education Service Centers located throughout the State. Education Service Centers are operated by and for school administrative units to provide support, improve educational services, increase student achievement, provide resources, and create efficiencies through a cooperative structure.
Education Service Centers (ESCs) are member-owned organizations. The services offered by each ESC, as well as those utilized by its members, are at the discretion of the membership and its board of directors. Title 20-A MRS Chapter 123 was enacted into law in 2018 as a set of provisions specifically for the development of Education Service Centers. Education Service Centers are operated by members for members to provide support that will improve opportunity and access for Maine students by economizing on and maximizing educational services.
To view current Education Service Centers by location, click on the Education Service Center Interactive Map.
Information on Education Service Centers
- Title 20-A M.R.S Chapter 123: Education Service Centers
- Education Service Center Q & A Our most frequently asked questions and Maine DOE's responses. This will be updated as necessary - last update 3/18/2019.
Application and Approval Cycle
Education Service Center applications are accepted at any time through an ongoing application cycle. The ESC application process consists of a Part I and Part II application. The Part I application provides basic information to the Department on the concept, membership, proposed services and governance structure. Part II requires more in depth planning and information be submitted, including the initial members, services the Center will provide and the proposed Interlocal Agreement. The ongoing application cycle allows groups of school administrative units to work at their own pace to plan and develop the ESC. The ESC application cycle is ongoing, however there are two deadlines that must be met during the approval process.
Proposed school administrative unit members of a new education service center must receive school board approval of the Interlocal Agreement (ILA) by November 30 of the year prior to which the education service center will become operational on July 1. Part II Applications and the proposed Interlocal Agreement must be submitted to the Department for approval consideration by November 1 of the year prior to the July 1 education service center operational date. The Department will provide a Part II determination within 10 working days. Department approval of the Part II application allows the ESC to move forward to obtain the initial member's school board/committee vote on the ILA.
For example, if the Part II Application,including the proposed ILA, are submitted by November 1, 2019 and the Department provides application approval within 10 working days, a board vote to approve the Interlocal Agreement must be held by November 30, 2019. If the school board vote takes place by November 30, 2019 then the operational date of the new education service center will be July 1, 2020 (FY 21). However, if a school board vote to approve the Interlocal Agreement is held after November 30, 2019, the operational date of the new education service center would be July 1, 2021 (FY 22).
Becoming a member of an existing Education Service Center
Each Education Service Center (ESC) is governed by a unique Interlocal Agreement that specifies how new members join the ESC. Follow this link to learn about the timeline.
- Online Application Part I
- Application Part I - a PDF document for downloading and using to prepare for the online application entry - The Education Service Center Part I application must be submitted through the online application portal.
- Online Application Part II
- Application Part II - a PDF document for downloading and using to prepare for the online application entry - The Education Service Center Part II application must be submitted through the online application portal.
Facilitators and Legal Cost Reimbursement
Up to $3,000 is available per regional group to assist with the cost of funding facilitation and legal services. SAUs can request these funds by sending an email to Deb Lajoie. Facilitator and Legal Cost contracts take 4 weeks to execute. Contracted work cannot begin until after the execution of a contract.