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Virtual Academy draws 281 students from 86 districts
The state’s first virtual charter school – Maine Connections Academy – began operating on Sept. 2 with 281 students from 86 public school districts, including 70 students who previously had been home-schooled.
The districts where those home-schooled students reside will have to send money to the charter school this year to pay for the students’ education even though they receive no state or local funding for them. Eventually those students will be in the district annual student count, but the state won’t send the full amount owed for two years. On average, charter school students cost sending districts between $8,000 to $9,000 per student.
Most districts are losing between 1-5 students. The hardest hit, according to preliminary numbers, is SAD 17 Oxford Hills with 11 students; RSU 6 Buxton/Standish and MSAD 54 Skowhegan at 10; and, RSU 24 Ellsworth and RSU 9 Farmington at 8.
The full list is attached, but it is preliminary, since this is the first day of school. Districts should rely on official confirmation.