Tax credit and voucher programs are school choice options for Maine. The Maine Constitution contains no prohibitions on public funding of parental choice programs and Maine already has one of the nation’s oldest and most successful voucher programs—its “tuitioning” system. This program provides public support for parents in towns too small to maintain public schools to send their children to the school of their choice. For nearly a century, parents in tuitioning towns were free to choose religious schools as well as public or private non-religious schools. In the early 1980s, Maine passed a law excluding parents who choose religious schools from the tuitioning program in the mistaken belief that it had to do so to comply with the federal Establishment Clause. Nonetheless, the Legislature faces no constitutional hurdle to removing its discriminatory ban on tuition payments for tuitioning students attending religious schools—or to offering broader school choice options to more Maine families.
Model Legislation: Education Savings Account, Parental Choice Scholarship Program (Universal Eligibility), Parental Choice Scholarship Program (Means-Tested Eligibility), Special Needs Scholarship Program, Foster Child Scholarship Program, Autism Scholarship, Great Schools Tax Credit Program, Family Education Tax Credit Program
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