Would-be virtual charter school operator invites families to informational sessions

Families interested in sending their children to a virtual public charter school in Maine are invited to informational sessions being held this week by one of the organizations vying to become Maine’s first online schools.

Maine Connections Academy, which plans to submit an application with the Maine Charter School Commission, kicks off its road show Monday afternoon (today) in Sanford and South Portland, followed by further presentations Tuesday and Wednesday in Bangor, Augusta and Auburn.

Maine Connections Academy is one of seven charter school applications that are expected for five remaining slots that the commission can approve under Maine’s charter school law, which was passed in 2011. There is one other virtual charter school proposed by a group called Maine Virtual Academy; the rest are so-called brick-and-mortar schools.

The law allows the commission to approve up to 10 charter schools in its first 10 years and five are already in operation. Local school districts have the authority to create an unlimited number of charter schools, though none has done so.

Maine Connections Academy, Inc., whose board of directors is chaired by Rep. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough, seeks to serve students in grades 7-12 with a teaching center located in Scarborough, according to the organization’s letter of intent. The school’s goal is to enroll 300 students in September 2014 and 750 students at total capacity.

The process of creating the state’s first virtual charter school has unfolded slowly. Both Maine Connections Academy and Maine Virtual Academy have submitted applications in previous rounds but deliberation of those applications was put off for a year while the commission participated in training and study about how to craft a worthy contract with a potential charter school. The commission will deliberate all seven applications on its docket in the coming months. Its next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 5.

Details about the Maine Connection Academy informational sessions are as follows:

Monday, October 21:

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Community Room
952 Main Street
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Downeast Room
303 Sable Oaks Drive

Tuesday, October 22:

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Ballroom B
250 Haskell Road

Wednesday, October 23:

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Augusta Room
14 Anthony Avenue
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Mill Pond Room
14 Great Falls Plaza


CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post implied that applications have already been submitted to the Charter School Commission. Seven entities have filed letters of intent, but none have filed full applications for the current round of deliberations.



Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.