Here’s a roundup of the school start dates and what’s new in area school districts:

BIDDEFORD (SEPT. 6)

Biddeford High School students return to an ongoing $34 million renovation project, to be completed by August 2012, said Superintendent Sarah-Jane Poli. Crews will be working in some classrooms this fall before moving on to renovate the cafeteria and gym. Budget cuts eliminated some programs and 23 positions, so school libraries won’t be staffed every day.

RSU 23/SACO, DAYTON, OLD ORCHARD BEACH (SEPT. 6)

The district has a new superintendent, Patrick Phillips, and Dayton Consolidated School has a new principal, Cheryl Frechette. In Old Orchard, old windows and asbestos floor tiles have been replaced at Loranger Middle School, and bleachers are being replaced at the high school’s athletic field.

RSU 21/KENNEBUNK, KENNEBUNKPORT, ARUNDEL (SEPT. 6)

The Middle School of the Kennebunks is being weatherized, including new roofing, and asbestos floor tiles are being replaced at Kennebunk High School, said Superintendent Andrew Dolloff. Susan Cressey is the new high school principal, Ryan Quinn is the new principal of Kennebunk Elementary School and Sara Zito is now the district’s assistant superintendent.

SCARBOROUGH (AUG. 30)

In addition to having a new superintendent, George Entwistle III, the district is launching a new elementary math program, which will be overseen by a new math specialist, Amy Colton. The district also will be preparing for a November referundum on a proposal to replace the aging Wentworth Intermediate School.

CAPE ELIZABETH (SEPT. 6)

In addition to having a new superintendent, Meredith Nadeau, the district has hired Jane Golding to be director of instructional support. New boilers have been installed in the high school’s heating plant and administrators have begun working on efforts to improve literacy and develop professional learning communities at each school.

SOUTH PORTLAND (AUG. 31)

Superintendent Suzanne Godin has several new players on her administrative team, including a new assistant superintendent, Kathryn Germani; a new high school principal, James Holland; a new principal and assistant principal of Mahoney Middle School, Carrie Stilphen and George Conant, respectively; and a new assistant principal at Memorial Middle School, Stephen Chabot. The district is launching a project-based, interdisciplinary curriculum at the renamed Kaler Community School of Inquiry and Exploration, and introducing a science-based inquiry program at the middle schools. Committees are working on plans for a $47.3 million high school renovation and expansion, to begin in 2012.

PORTLAND (SEPT. 6)

The district looked outside the state to find its two new principals. Deborah Migneault, previously of Dover High School in New Hampshire, and Jeanne Malia, previously of Los Angeles, have been named principals at Portland High School and Riverton Elementary School, respectively. Over the summer, Presumpscot, Lyseth and Peaks Island elementary schools also installed new energy-efficient windows, which will keep the classrooms significantly warmer in winter.

WESTBROOK (AUG. 31)

In the district’s central office, former high school Principal Marc Gousse has become superintendent, replacing Reza Namin, who took a job in Massachusetts. Former Canal School Principal Jeremy Ray has become director of operations. Replacing Gousse is Thomas O’Malley, who was a principal in New Hampshire. Teacher Vickie Hebert is stepping in as interim principal at Canal. Saccarappa School has a new boiler, paid for with federal stimulus money, and the high school track has been resurfaced. The one educational program eliminated this year was virtual high school, which allowed students to take online courses not offered at the school.

GORHAM (AUG. 30)

Starting this year, the district’s three elementary schools will serve kindergarten through fifth grade. Jane Esty, who was assistant principal of Village Elementary School, will be principal of the new Great Falls Elementary School, a $15.8 million project replacing the White Rock School, which closed in June. The district has a new athletic director, Tim Spear, who came from the Massabesic school district in Waterboro. Spear is replacing Gerry Durgin, who resigned to work for the Maine Principals’ Association.

RSU 14/WINDHAM, RAYMOND (AUG. 30)

There are new principals at both Windham Middle School and Windham High School this year. Charlie Haddock, who was the middle school’s assistant principal, is stepping up to replace Hal Shortsleeve, who retired. At the high school, Christopher Howell, formerly the district’s curriculum coordinator, is replacing Deb McAfee, who will become the assistant principal. Windham High students will return to a brand-new track, which cost $265,000.

SAD 6/BUXTON, HOLLIS, LIMINGTON, STANDISH (AUG. 29)

The district is expected to soon have a new superintendent to replace Suzanne Lukas, who resigned in May to take a superintendent’s job in Ellsworth. Mark Eastman, a retired superintendent, has been serving as schools chief in the interim. Bonny Eagle Middle School has a new principal, Michael Roy, who was principal of Waterville Junior High School. He replaces Ansel Stevens, who retired. A renovation project at Jack Memorial, a former elementary school, was completed this month. This year, that building will house SAD 6′s alternative and adult education programs. Another old elementary school, Frank Jewett, has become the home of the Sebago Educational Alliance’s Day Treatment Program for special education students throughout the region. The school had been at Little Falls School in Gorham.

FALMOUTH (SEPT. 6)

In addition to opening a new elementary school, the district has begun providing full-day kindergarten for all students and on-campus day care for children of staff members and students, said Superintendent Barbara Powers. It’s also restoring the parking area at the middle school where portable classrooms were located and expanding the high school laptop program to freshmen.

YARMOUTH (SEPT. 6)

Yarmouth High School has a new assistant principal, Josh Ottow, and a new science curriculum is being launched across the district, said Superintendent Judy Paolucci. Harrison Middle School will begin incorporating Chebeague Island students this year, starting with four sixth-graders. Island leaders recently decided to send middle and high school students to Yarmouth schools instead of Cumberland schools. And school and municipal departments have begun sharing accounting and bus maintenance duties to save money and increase efficiency.

SAD 51/CUMBERLAND, NORTH YARMOUTH (AUG. 31)

At Greely High School, Dan McKeone and Mar-e Trebilcock have been named permanent principal and assistant principal, respectively, and David Shapiro is the new athletic director, said Superintendent Robert Hasson Jr. In addition, the district is expanding its literacy program into the Greely Middle School and a new math curriculum from sixth to seventh grade.

RSU 5/FREEPORT, DURHAM, POWNAL (SEPT. 6)

Reading will be taught in a new way in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, said Superintendent Shannon Welsh. Teachers will be following the Reader’s Workshop Model, which emphasizes time-saving ways to master phonics, comprehension and the ability to read aloud. Students at Durham and Freeport middle schools will be sharing co-curricular activities such as cheering and field hockey.