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/guardian 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/guardian (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/guardian of the student requesting transfer under this paragraph a written description of the basis of that superintendent’s determination. A copy of the denial communications to the parent/guardian 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):
Request for Commissioner Review of a Denied Superintendent Agreement
If a Superintendent agreement request is denied and the parent/guardian elects to ask for a Commissioner review, the checklist items listed below must be submitted here: Request for Commissioner Review of a Denied Superintendent Agreement. The Commissioner will consider the decision of both Superintendents, and the information provided, in the review.
- Name of Parents or Legal Guardians
- Student’s full name, date of birth and grade level
- Parents or Legal Guardian Address, Telephone Number and Email
- Applicable school year for the transfer
- Name of the resident school administrative unit
- Name of the school administrative unit that the student would be transferred to.
- Copy of the Superintendent’s letter to the parent/guardian denying the transfer (if both superintendents deny, include both letters)
- Copy of the parent’s/guardian's requests to both superintendents for the transfer and any accompanying documentation
- If one of the two superintendents’ approves the transfer; include a copy of that superintendent’s approval letter or communication
- Letter to the Commissioner including:
- Description of why it is in the best interest of your child to attend the other school administrative unit (SAU) instead of the resident SAU, including copies of any supporting documentation. The reasons why it is in the best interest of the child should be specific to this child and their situation.
- Parent/guardian address the issues that the denying superintendent raised in the written description of the basis of that his/her determination that they provided to the parent/guardian.
School Enrollment Specialist
Maine Department of Education
23 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0023