Talks with Old Town rejected by Orono school committee

Posted July 26, 2008, at 12 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 28, 2011, at 12:09 a.m.

ORONO, Maine – Members of the school committee voted 3-2 Thursday night against meeting with Old Town to discuss the possibility of a regional high school to serve the two communities.

The main reason cited by board members Stefani Berkey, Jim Bird and Leo Kenney was that they favored the consolidation effort already under way with Glenburn and Veazie schools under recent legislation, and they want to keep Orono schools small.

Bob Swindlehurst, chairman of the school committee, and member Lisa Buck both were in favor of discussions with Old Town.

The Old Town School Board voted unanimously the night before in favor of exploring the possibility of a regional high school.

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 because of old rivalries or the desire for smaller schools.

Old Town businessman Ralph Leonard said he believes those issues are over, but Orono’ s position showed otherwise.

Leonard organized a group of former educators, local businesspeople 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.

Leonard couldn’ t be reached Friday for comment.

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