Students in Portland and other southern Maine communities headed back to school Wednesday.

Schools in Scarborough, Sanford, Wells and other towns across Cumberland and York counties also started today. Some school districts, including Regional School Unit 21 in Kennebunk, won’t start classes until after Labor Day.

In Portland, the school day is 20 minutes longer this year and district officials have implemented changes in start times for elementary and middle school students. High school students in the city will now ride the Metro bus instead of traditional yellow school buses.

It may be the start of the school year, but the weather Wednesday was likely to remind students of summer vacation. Temperatures were expected to climb to the upper 90s along the coast and 90 degrees inland.

The Wells Police Department on Tuesday posted a reminder to drivers that it is illegal to pass a school bus when its lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended. The department also urged drivers to take extra care to watch out for students and observe 15 mph speed limits in school zones. Passing a stopped school bus in Maine is a Class E crime punishable by a minimum $250 fine for a first offense and a mandatory 30-day license suspension for a second offense.


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