decrease of 584 in the midcoast

Number of publicly funded students down in the Midcoast and statewide

Wed, 11/03/2021 - 10:00am

    There are fewer publicly funded students registered through the Maine Department of Education this school year than has been recorded since the 2012-2013 academic year, according to data released in October. 

    This school year, the Maine DOE notes there 172,474 publicly funded students statewide, down nearly 8,000 from the 2020-2021 school year when there were 180,336. The count includes students enrolled in Pre-K through 12th grades at schools across Maine. 

    A publicly funded student is a student whose education is paid for by public funds by one of the following: attending resident district schools; attending a charter school; attending another school district with tuition paid by resident district; attending a private school with tuition paid by resident district; attending a private school with tuition paid by state or federal funds; attending a non-resident school district as a benefit to a parent who works at the attending unit; or attending a non-resident school district under a superintendent agreement. 

    The decline continues a steady decrease of publicly funded students in the state, which is down from 187,145 in the 2012-2013 school year. 

    In the Midcoast, the enrollment decline is also evident as the number of publicly funded students in the Midcoast dropped from 10,109 in the 2020-2021 school year to 9,525 this school year, a decrease of 584. 

    Five Towns

    Enrollment numbers are down about 20 students in the three Union 69 schools (Appleton, Hope and Lincolnville) since the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. 

    Appleton Village School reports 128 students attending this school year, down from 148 in 2020 and a decade-high of 154 in 2019. Hope Elementary School enrolled 172 students this school year, down from 192 in 2020. The Lincolnville Central School has 218 attending this school year, down from 224 last school year.

    Enrollment numbers dropped from 375 last school year to 332 this school year at Camden-Rockport Elementary School but rose from 357 to 387 at Camden-Rockport Middle School.

    At Camden Hills Regional High School, home to students from all five of the communities in the Five Towns area, numbers are down just slightly from 712 to 709, and both the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 years are higher than the consecutive years of 690 long before the pandemic. 

    The number of students attending the Wayfinder School at Camden has doubled since the start of the last school year from 9 to 20, though the school had enrollment numbers of the 20s and low 30s until 2017 when enrollment plummeted to five. 

    Watershed School, meanwhile, is currently enrolling five students, an increase from three in 2020 and a decrease from a decade-high of seven in 2019. 

    The Islands

    Enrollment on the islands have remained mostly consistent amid the pandemic. 

    Vinalhaven recorded 168 this year, down from 174 last school year and down from the high 180s and low 190s it recorded in 2012 and 2013.

    Only 52 are enrolled at North Haven, down slightly from 53 last school year and down from its high of 67 recorded a few times over the last decade.

    On Islesboro, enrollment is up this school year at 94 from 85 though the school once enrolled 105 in 2013. 

    The Cranberry Isles currently host a dozen students, up a smidge from 10 last school year but down from 16 in 2019.

    Matinicus has not enrolled a student since 2018 when it enrolled three students for a three-year period. 

    Mariners Territory

    The new Ash Point Community School in Owls Head has seen an enrollment up-tick since opening in 2019 from 163 to 164 to its current 173. 

    Enrollment numbers in Cushing plummeted from 80 in 2020 to 59 this year, which is down from 88 in 2019. Likewise, enrollment dropped at South School from 344 to 273, down from a two-year period in the 370s in 2017 and 2018. 

    Oceanside High School saw a sharp increase from 487 last year to its present-day total of 526, its best enrollment number since all four high school grades merged under one roof at the Rockland campus. 

    In Thomaston, at Oceanside Middle School, enrollment is down to 363 this year, down from 372 last year and down from 397 in 2017. At the Thomaston Grammar School, enrollment fell slightly from 183 last year to 175 this year, continuing a steady decline from 189 in 2017. 

    Mustang Territory

    There are eight schools in “Mustang Territory” covered by Regional School Unit 3 and each have seen enrollment dips since the pre-pandemic times. 

    Monroe Elementary and Mount View Elementary saw slight declines from 65 to 56 and from 225 to 219, respectively.

    Considerable declines occurred at Morse Memorial (114 to 88), Mount View Middle (291 to 250), Troy Central (73 to 60; down from a high of 105 in 2016), Unity Elementary (29 to 19; down from a high of 38 in 2016) and at Walker Elementary School (90 to 62; down from a high of 104 in 2017). 

    Mount View High School, which each of the other seven schools feed into, fell from 348 last year to 338 this year, down also from a high of 466 in 2015. 


    Enrollment numbers are down across the board in Searsport, ranging from just barely to significantly, at the public schools and up at the town’s charter school. 

    The numbers barely fell at the middle school from 93 last year to 90 this year, though both years are down from a high of 177 in 2013. At the high school, the numbers are down some from 148 to 123, a notable decline of a high of 181. 

    Meanwhile, the numbers at the elementary school plummeted from 228 last year to 188 this year, down from a high of 239 in 2018. 

    At Maine Ocean School, a charter school, enrollment is up to 23 in the school’s third year, an increase from 12 in 2019 and 14 in 2020. 

    Lions’ Den

    Six schools feed into Belfast Area High School, which saw a slight bump in its enrollment since last year up to 493 from 489. 

    Elsewhere at those six feeder schools though, enrollment numbers are down slightly at Ames Elementary (125 to 120) and Captain Stevens (292 to 280). 

    More considerable declines happened at East Belfast (116 to 90), Gladys Weymouth (101 to 66), Kermit Nickerson (94 to 71) and Troy Howard (342 to 322). 

    Land of the Panthers

    Enrollment numbers across the land of the Panthers, spanning seven schools across Knox and Lincoln counties, are down at all but one school. 

    Medomak Middle School is the lone school to report an uptick from 282 to 286, though that’s down from a high of 314 in 2012. 

    Friendship Village (83 to 75; down from high of 106 in 2013), Miller (347 to 315), Prescott Memorial (104 to 100), Union Elementary (147 to 124) and Warren Community (363 to 330) all experienced varying levels of decreases. 

    The area’s high school, Medomak Valley, saw a drop from 564 last school year to 546 this school year. 

    Lone Wolves

    In school districts of their own, Edna Drinkwater School and St. George saw declines of different degrees. 

    Edna Drinkwater, in Northport, saw a very tiny decrease from 114 to 113, which is down from 131 in 2019. 

    St. George, meanwhile, saw a drop from a decade-high of 203 last school year to its current 186 students. 

    Splitting Districts

    A handful of schools are hosted in towns that fall within the coverage area of Knox and Waldo counties plus Waldoboro of Lincoln County, though the rest of those schools’ districts fall outside our coverage area. 

    From RSU 25, Palermo Consolidated has held steady at 118 since 2019, down from a high of 143 in 2016. 

    From RSU 22, Samuel L. Wagner is up slightly to 237 from 234, down from a high of 245 in 2019. Meanwhile, Leroy H. Smith is down to 271 this year from 301 last year, which is down from a high of 326 in 2014.