AUGUSTA — A bond from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, to support the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone received a public hearing in the Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee on Thursday. LD 21, “An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Provide a New Dormitory Facility at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics” – would fund a new dormitory facility at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics.
“Aroostook County is home to an incredible natural landscape, hardworking and kind people, a rich agricultural economy, and a deep sense of commitment to the community and each other. It’s also home to Maine School of Science and Mathematics, which provides unmatched educational experiences in a community like no other,” said President Jackson. “Part of what makes MSSM so special is its location. For more than 25 years, students from all over the County, state, country, and even the world, have come to rural Maine to attend MSSM. This bill is about continuing this successful legacy in the heart of Maine.”
Founded in 1995 by the Maine Legislature, the Maine School of Science and Mathematics is a public, residential magnet school that serves high school students from across the state and around the world. The school has earned an impressive reputation for providing students a first-class education in the heart of Aroostook County. In 2019, U.S. News named MSSM the best high school in Maine, the second-best high school in the entire country, and the second-best magnet school in the country. It also earned recognition from Newsweek as one of the top 10 STEM high schools in the country.
“MSSM’s Residential Program is a community of like-minded, high-achieving students who come together to create a dynamic culture for learning, camaraderie, and personal growth. It is the core strength of MSSM, providing the experience and resources to support an informed outreach program,” said Philip Long, Director of Technology, Public Access Officer at MSSM. “This can easily be argued that it works best in our current location in Limestone and our current location is the secret sauce that contributes to our success because students do not have the distractions that are associated with more populated urban areas.”
President Jackson introduced a similar measure last year but unfortunately, the legislative session was cut short due to the COVID-19pandemic. This bond would help the school to expand enrollment, attract and retain high-quality staff and allow both the school and the state to continue this legacy. The current dormitory is a retrofitted elementary school and has remained relatively the same since the school opened in the late ’90s. At this point, the facilities have fallen behind not just other independent schools but public schools in the state.
LD 21 will face additional work sessions in committee, before moving to the Senate and House for additional votes. If approved by the Legislature, the bond would go before Maine voters for approval.