ESC Questions and Answers

Below is a collection of our most frequently asked questions about Education Service Centers.


An Education Service Center (ESC), as established by Title 20-A M.R.S. Chapter 123, is a multiservice agency established and operated for the purposes of developing, managing, and providing services to its members.

An Education Service Center is not a school administrative unit, it operates as an extension of the member school administrative units and associate members.

The Maine Department of Education performs certain regulatory functions and is responsible for setting in place rules and regulations for implementing initiatives enacted by the Legislature.


The interlocal agreement should state the member obligations and what happens within the ESC if those obligations are not met.

At the State level, if an SAU does not purchase a minimum of one service from two different funding categories, in any given year, it will not be eligible for the Education Service Center Member Allocation.

Yes. According to statute, SAU's may be members of an unlimited number of ESCs; however, each ESC is encouraged to maintain a flexible menu of services that reflect the needs of the members. Membership in an ESC does not require the member to be physically located in the service center's geographic boundary.

Note: While an SAU may be a member of more than one ESC, they are only eligible for one Regionalization and Efficiency Assistance adjustment.

Yes. Member dues and cost-sharing provisions, such as fee for services, are determined by the members and are included in the interlocal agreement.

Yes. Successful partnerships and existing collaboratives are a natural starting point for an ESC. However, the SAU's will need to formalize the partnerships by establishing an education service center pursuant to the criteria in Title 20-A M.R.S. Chapter 123.


Education Service Centers (ESCs) provide education programs and/or administrative services that help members to:

  • Improve student performance
  • Operate more efficiently and economically
  • Offer education services that may otherwise be cost prohibitive
  • Finance

    An approved ESC receives state funding for the center's administration and to support basic operations, as established in Title 20-A M.R.S. Chapter 123, specifically, section 3806. Since Education Service Centers have no legal taxing authority they must depend on revenues from member districts, from the state as prescribed by law, through contracted services to districts, and from competition for grant funding. Revenue from membership fees for core services, fees collected under a fee for service structure, and nonmember purchase of services are common revenue streams for ESCs.

    ESC direct state funding revenue should be coded to Fund Code - 6750, Revenue Code - 3115, Cost Center Code - 505.

    Revenue from member SAUs should be coded to Fund Code - 6750, Revenue Code - 1960.

    Education Service Center financial reporting requirements to the Maine DOE are the same as an SAU's reporting requirements. View Maine DOE's Funding home page.


    The qualification and/or credentials of the executive director are determined based on the services and functions that the education service center provides. Members of the education service may determine additional qualifications or credentials for their educaion service centers.

    Yes. An SAU may pay for full or part-time superintendent services. However, if specified in the interlocal agreement, an SAU may elect to share the service with the other members of the education service center. Membership in an education service center does not require an SAU share superintendent services.

    The law allows members of the ESC to determine who will serve as the executive director, and likely different solutions will emerge based on local needs.

    Fifty-five percent of the salary and benefits of the executive director position will be paid to the ESC, regardless of who holds the position. The duties of the executive director position must be clearly specified in the interlocal agreement and may or may not include superintendent services.


    The statute does not prescribe how an education service center is to be governed; the members have the flexibility to create a structure and representation that works for them.

    The interlocal agreement requires the ESC board composition, election or appointment of officers, board member terms, and method of voting.

    Membership in an ESC does not change the governance structure of local schools; the local school board/committee retains its governance of their schools.