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Innovative Public Schools Act
The Howard C. Reiche Community School in Portland, Maine initially converted to a teacher-powered governance structure in July of 2011, after receiving approval from the Portland Public School’s Board of Education. The school board approved a school proposal that outlined their proposed governance structure: the school can have a team of lead teachers (instead of a principal), who will represent the school on the district’s Administrative Team. The site teachers can also select the lead teachers. Reiche teachers follow district policy and collective bargaining in the areas of teacher evaluation, professional development, learning program, school policy, and school site budget. The allocation of discretionary funds is determined by the lead teachers with input from the staff and leadership team.
With interest in opening the opportunity for other groups of teachers to replicate Reiche's model, the Maine legislature in 2013 passed LD 1106, “An Act to Develop a Grant Program to Establish a Teacher-led School Model.” This Bill, which adds to the Innovative Public School section of Maine education law (L.D. 1488), encourages teacher-powered schools by allowing schools or districts to apply for grant monies to explore, develop and implement alternative governance structures. Under the Innovative Public School section, local school boards have to consider any proposals for alternative governance structures. Reiche teachers are currently seeking approval from the state department of education as an Innovative Public School.