Old Town: Board favors regional high school plan

Posted July 24, 2008, at 12 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 27, 2011, at 11:56 p.m.

OLD TOWN and ORONO, Maine&nbsp- The idea of creating a regional high school for the Orono-Old Town area was unanimously moved forward Tuesday by the Old Town School Board.

Now, it’s up to the Orono School Committee to decide if it wants to proceed with the idea. The committee is scheduled to meet at 7 tonight at the town office in the council chambers.

The concept of forming a regional high school for the Orono-Old Town area isn’ t new, and over the last several years the idea has been discussed many times only to die out due to old rivalries, or to the desire for smaller schools.

Old Town businessman Ralph Leonard said he believes that those issues are over.

Leonard has organized a group of former educators, local businessmen and retired school administrators who have been meeting fairly regularly to develop their regional high school proposal for presentation to the local school boards.

The concept would put a regional high school on University of Maine property to serve Orono, Old Town and surrounding communities such as Milford, Greenbush, Bradley, and Glenburn if they decided to join.

“Everyone we’ ve talked to [at the university] from the president on down has said that if a district high school were formed, they’ d like to work with us,” Leonard said.

If both municipalities are in favor of moving forward with the proposal, Leonard said it will be time to invite other surrounding communities currently served by the two high schools to jump on board.

While surrounding communities previously have held tightly to their right to allow high school students to choose which secondary school in the area they want to attend, Leonard and others feel that residents may vote to give up that option if their proposal is a viable alternative.

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