AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Education is handing out $4.6 million in grants aimed at encouraging schools to collaborate.

Bangor Daily News reports that the department this week announced 11 grants largely targeted at rural areas contending with budget challenges and shrinking numbers of students.

Gov. Paul LePage’s administration has focused on encouraging districts to voluntarily cooperate with school consolidation efforts in contrast to Maine’s previous strategy of coercion and penalties.

Madison’s school district, for example, plans to use its grant to start a middle school alternative education program for at-risk students aimed at reducing dropout and truancy rates.

The education department said the projects are estimated to save a combined $10 million over five years.

The total funding available for the competitive grants will increase to $5 million in 2019.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.