SADs 5, 50 to hold consolidation meetings

By George Chappell,
Posted Sept. 26, 2008, at 11:55 p.m.

THOMASTON, Maine — The Reorganization Planning Committee for SADs 5 and 50 will hold a series of public meetings on their school administration consolidation plan, which members say will save residents more than $2 million.

Two public hearings and four informational meetings will be held before the Nov. 4 referendum vote on the plan. The first meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, at Rockland City Hall, said Ann Matlack, recording secretary for the committee.

The committee’s plan to consolidate SAD 5 and SAD 50 administrative operations would save residents more than $2 million in taxes, said Jamie Doubleday, chairwoman of the SAD 50 school board and co-chair of the committee.

“There will be over $500,000 in savings from administrative cuts right off the top — plus another $1.5 million saved by avoiding state penalties,” Doubleday said.

The proposed consolidation includes the towns of Rockland, Owls Head, and South Thomaston in SAD 5, and St. George, Cushing and Thomaston in SAD 50. Meetings are planned for all six towns.

The state’s school administrative reorganization law passed in June 2007 requires school districts to consolidate administrative services. Plans and budgets for new regional school units must be approved by participating communities.

Former SAD 5 board member and RPC co-chair Dave Matthews said the consolidation plan the two districts have put together makes the most sense for the area.

The savings would occur over three years and provide better education and equity for students in all six towns in the two districts, he said.

Doubleday cautioned that failure to pass consolidation in the districts would preclude eligibility for state aid on construction funding. Local taxpayers would have to put up millions of dollars required for school construction in the future, she said.

The state traditionally funds the bulk of construction projects for local schools, but failure to comply with the consolidation law would cut the funding, she said.

Matthews said in a press release that the plan consolidates only administrative operations for the two districts, and does not close or consolidate any of the schools.

“Every school operating today in all six towns will remain in operation on opening day of the regional school unit, just as they are now,” he said.

In addition to the public hearings and informational meetings, the committee plans to send out a fact sheet and informational brochure to households in both districts.

The meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. and are scheduled as follows: Thursday, Oct. 2, public hearing, Rockland City Hall; Tuesday, Oct. 7, public hearing, Georges Valley High School, Thomaston; Thursday, Oct. 9, informational meeting, Cushing Community School, Cushing; Tuesday, Oct. 14, informational meeting, Gilford Butler School, South Thomaston; Thursday, Oct. 16, informational meeting, St. George School, Tenants Harbor; and Monday, Oct. 20, informational meeting, Owls Head Central School, Owls Head.

For information, contact Doubleday at 354-2555, or Matthews at 594-1458.

http://bangordailynews.com/2008/09/26/news/sads-5-50-to-hold-consolidation-meetings/ printed on December 18, 2014