May 26, 2018
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4 towns OK school consolidation effort

By Abigail Curtis, BDN Staff

Though the final results of the school consolidation vote weren’t available by early Wednesday, it squeaked by in the SAD 38 towns of Etna and Dixmont, and passed in two of the six SAD 48 towns, too.

Based on those early reports, SAD 48 Superintendent William Braun said late Tuesday night that he believed it is very likely that two administrative districts will consolidate into one.

“I think it’s really an opportunity for both districts to grow, and there are some savings,” Braun said. “We’ll go forward with the planning and with the consolidation. I think there’s a lot of information that has to be given out so that people feel comfortable with it.”

The consolidation vote passed 295-280 in Etna and by 352-332 in Dixmont, the two towns of SAD 38. In SAD 48, Plymouth voted for the consolidation by 369-286 and Palmyra voted for it by 498-479.

But results from the SAD 48 towns of Corinna, Hartland, St. Albans and Newport weren’t available early Wednesday.

If the voters in both SADs agree to consolidate, it would create an eight-town, 2,500-student Regional School Unit, which has yet to be named.

One major change is that high school choice in SAD 38 would be phased out and all students would go to Nokomis Regional High School. The district has about 20 students going to outside high schools, including John Bapst, Brewer, Bangor, Hermon, Mount View and Hampden Academy. The students and their siblings could finish at those schools.

If voters had rejected the consolidation, Braun said the penalties levied by the state could have been more than $400,000.

The superintendent said the two school administrative districts have “done business together for 42 years” and that that might make the transition smoother.

“We’ve shared everything from professional development to curriculum to purchasing oil, paper and janitorial supplies,” Braun said.

Residents may be worried that Tuesday’s vote to consolidate may lead to more massive changes in years to come, the superintendent said.

“It’s a concern that their own local schools will close in the long run. It’s a concern that’s in the back of people’s minds,” he said.

There are no plans to eliminate any local school, he said.

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