AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage says Maine is now the 41st state to allow charter schools.

Fulfilling a campaign promise, LePage on Thursday signed the bill authorizing charter schools, which create innovative educational settings for students who don’t fit into the public schools.

The bill he signed would allow no more than 10 public charter schools in the first decade. It would also limit the number of students who can attend them in the first three years to protect smaller noncharter public schools.

The charter school bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Garrett Mason of Lisbon Falls, says the bill moves Maine “from a one-size-fits-all approach to an individualized education for all.”

The voluntary public schools cannot teach religious practices or discriminate against students or teachers.