DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Dover-Foxcroft selectmen voted Monday to support the school reorganization plan despite opposition by some of the district’s partners in the Alternative Organizational Structure.
It appears that Greenville officials, who are part of the AOS along with SAD 41 in the Milo area, SAD 12 in the Jackman area, and the local SAD 68, plan to urge their residents to vote no on the proposed school plan.
“The final consequences are really not an option for us,” Dover-Foxcroft Town Manager Jack Clukey said, referring to the penalty the state will assess to communities that do not consolidate administrative services. If the towns in the district do not vote for the reorganization, the district will lose about $178,000 in subsidy per year, he said.
Clukey said residents repeatedly told the regional planning committee they wanted local control and this proposed plan retains local control. To comply with the law, he said, the AOS must have 1,200 students. If more than one town pulls out of the effort, leaving the group with less than 1,200 students, all of the communities in the AOS will be penalized, he said.
Greenville school and municipal officials will meet Wednesday to address the consolidation effort and it is expected a joint statement will be completed on the proposed plan.
Clukey said that a referendum directed by a petition drive to repeal the administrative consolidation plan is expected to be on a future state ballot, but until then all school districts must comply with the Department of Education’s directive.
Selectmen also voted Monday to hold a public hearing at their next meeting on the planned construction of a sidewalk on Harrison Avenue during summer vacation. The work will be done in conjunction with a sewer project. The proposal is to have the longest section of the sidewalk constructed on the west side of the street, with a crosswalk beyond Danforth Avenue to the school.
Local surveyor Gregory Crispell, who provided the concept drawing for the sidewalk, said installing the sidewalk on the west side would be less expensive to construct, would be less disruptive to the residential character of the street and would require the least amount of alteration to existing subsurface drains.
During a public hearing, Nadan Joshi of the Federal Communication Commission discussed the conversion to all-digital television. The deadline for the digital television transition is Feb. 17. He said homeowners who have cable or satellite television would have no problem with the change. Viewers who have one or more televisions that receive free over-the-air programming with a rooftop antenna or “rabbit ears,” will need a converter box. A digital television, one with an internal digital tuner, will allow owners to continue to watch free over-the-air programming after Feb. 17. However, those with an analog television will need a digital-to-analog converter box to continue to watch broadcast television on that set. The converter box also will enable owners to see any additional multicast programming that local stations offer.
Although the federal program that provided $40 coupons to homeowners to help with the conversion has run out of funds, Joshi suggested that those who need the assistance apply for the waiting list should more funds become available.