Education Service Center

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 the 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


Application and Approval Cycle

Education Service Center applications are accepted at any time through an ongoing application cycle. The ESC application process consists of 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.

Important Deadlines:

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, is 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.

Application Materials


Denise Towers - School Finance Regionalization & Compliance Coordinator
Education Service Centers