In my last column, I wrote about the independent nature of Lincoln Academy, focusing on how the school receives tuition. I pointed out that the state of Maine sets the maximum-allowable tuition (MAT) for town academies, based on a formula which takes into account the average state tuition in the previous year. If one looks on the Maine Department of Education website, one can find the per pupil rate of spending for each town and/or school district in the state.
At the Lincoln Academy Town Hall meeting in September, we referenced this information as we examined the per pupil rate at the K-8 schools in AOS 93 and the per pupil rate in the neighboring secondary schools. Each of these schools — five in the district and six neighboring secondary schools — has higher per pupil spending rates than the tuition that follows a day student to Lincoln Academy. Lincoln Academy spends significantly more per pupil than it receives from public tuition funding.
As I mentioned in my last column, because LA is an independent school, it can fundraise, access its endowment, and explore alternative sources of revenue in order to provide the best educational opportunities for students. By board policy, each year we draw 4% of our endowment income, based on the most recent three year average, and we have grown our annual fund (Lincoln Fund), thanks to the generosity of alumni, parents, and community members, significantly over the past few years. We are also able to host summer programs on our campus because we have new and improved facilities. So, in addition to our day and boarding tuition revenues, we use these other revenue-generating opportunities to support our students.
Lincoln Academy belongs to the National Association of Independent schools, an organization which represents approximately 1,400 member independent schools and associations in the US, serving more than 562,000 students and 121,000 teachers, administrators, and other staff. NAIS provides leadership, support, and best practice examples to its members. The Academy also belongs to the Independent School Association of Northern New England, the Association of Boarding Schools, and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. LA also holds membership in the Maine Principals Association and in the Maine Association of Independent Schools.
It is through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, which serves schools in New England and abroad, that the Academy receives its accreditation. The process, which occurs for each school on a ten-year cycle, begins with a year-long self study. During this time, the school studies itself, based on a set of standards set forth by the NEASC. As no two schools are alike, each school’s mission and practices play an important role in the process. In the self study phase, faculty and staff, students and parents, alumni and community members are surveyed and interviewed to provide information which addresses each standard. Lincoln Academy completed this accreditation process most recently in 2015.
I will continue my explanation of this process in my next column. As always, should you have questions about Lincoln Academy, please feel free to make an appointment to meet with me. You may contact Carole Brinkler, Assistant to the Head of School at 207-563-3596, ext.102.