The Maine School Administrative District 40 Board of Directors unanimously voted Sept. 2 to encourage parents to not divulge their children’s Social Security numbers as part of the state’s tracking system.

Maine state law requires school districts to ask parents to provide students’ Social Security numbers so the state can track educational progress, and how the students are doing after they leave school. However, school districts can offer guidance to parents about the wisdom of sharing students’ Social Security numbers. Board Chairwoman Bonnie Davis Micue raised the issue with the board. She said other districts raising opposition to this, and SAD 40 should be at the vanguard.

SAD 40 has already sent a letter to parents, as required by state law, requesting Social Security numbers. Any responses from that mailing will be destroyed, said Superintendent Francis Boynton.

Parents will be sent a new letter that expresses the board’s view that Social Security numbers should not be divulged so students can be tracked.

Board member Dana Dow said he had three major concerns with the state’s plan to collect students’ Social Security numbers to track students. He asked, what else will their Social Security numbers be used for. He questioned the security of the state’s computer infrastructure. And he said the latest identity thefts have involved the Social Security numbers of children. Children tend to have no credit history, and it can take a long time for them to find out their identity was stolen.

Board member Carrie Chavanne said educational progress could be monitored with student identification numbers, rather than Social Security numbers.

The vote to send a new letter with the school board’s recommendation passed 10-0. Board members at the meeting were Micue, Dow, Chavanne, Ron Dolloff, Francis Cross, Theodore Brown, Dan Davey, Dennis Wooster, Danny Jackson and Sherrie Clark.

The school board chairwoman also said there is a movement by school districts to encourage repeal of the state law concerning student’s Social Security numbers. The board subsequently voted to voice its support for repeal of the law authorizing the state Department of Education to collect students’ Social Security numbers.

At least 10 school committees — Auburn, Bethel, Biddeford, Brewer, Lewiston, MSAD 58, Waterville, Winslow, Winthrop and Vassalboro — have passed resolutions criticizing the law, according to the Maine Civil Liberties Union.

Superintendent Boynton stressed that within SAD 40, access to the students’ Social Security numbers would be very limited.