PORTLAND – Riverton Community School will receive $3.4 million in federal funding over the next three years because of its designation as one of Maine’s 10 persistently lowest-performing schools, the state Department of Education announced Thursday.

Riverton is one of seven schools that agreed to undergo intensive staff development and make widespread instructional changes for shares of the $12 million in reform funding allocated to Maine.

Two other schools learned Thursday how much they will get over the next three years. Longley Elementary School in Lewiston will get $2 million and Sumner Memorial High School in Sullivan will get $1.7 million, said David Connerty-Marin, spokesman for the Department of Education.

Four schools that applied for funding are still waiting for decisions: Deer Isle-Stonington High, Carrabec High in North Anson, Lake Region High in Naples and Livermore Falls High.

The department is working with Deer Isle-Stonington to revise its grant application to meet federal requirements, Connerty-Marin said. The deadline to submit an application, including a comprehensive improvement plan, was in May.

Once the U.S. Department of Education accepts Deer Isle-Stonington’s application, it is expected to release funding for Carrabec, Lake Region, Livermore Falls and Deer Isle-Stonington, Connerty-Marin said.

Three of the 10 persistently lowest-performing schools turned down the money: Houlton High, Hodgdon High and Madison Area High.

To get federal money, districts had to submit aggressive, three-year school improvement plans that included replacing the principal if he or she had been on the job for three or more years.

Some principals were already planning to leave their positions, including those at Carrabec and Livermore Falls, Connerty-Marin said. Others weren’t, including principals at Longley and Lake Region.

Nancy Kopak, who has been principal at Riverton since September 2007, was exempt from being removed.

Kopak and her teachers have already started implementing their reform plan, by attending a three-day educational planning seminar this week at the University of Southern Maine.

“This funding will allow Riverton’s staff to increase their effectiveness, especially with students who are learning to speak English or living in poverty,” said Superintendent Jim Morse.

The schools will use the reform money for targeted professional development, parent-school relationship building and extended learning opportunities, including one-on-one instruction, summer school and learning labs.

They also must incorporate students’ achievement data into teachers’ evaluations, Connerty-Marin said.

The 10 schools on the initial list scored lowest among 98 schools in Maine that received or were eligible for federal Title I funding for underprivileged students, demonstrated low reading and math proficiency on annual tests over three years and fell below the state average in making academic progress during that period.

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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