Greenville panels urge defeat of schools plan

Posted Jan. 15, 2009, at 1:51 a.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 11:03 a.m.

GREENVILLE, Maine — The School Committee and the Board of Selectmen each voted Wednesday during special meetings to support a joint statement asking residents to reject a proposed school reorganization plan.

The boards believe there are no clear cost savings other than the avoidance of any penalties and there are no clear educational benefits should the school merge into an Alternative Organizational Structure with SAD 41 (Milo area), SAD 68 (Dover-Foxcroft area), SAD 12 (Jackman area), and the Shirley, Beaver Cove and Bowerbank School departments.

Shirley and Beaver Cove town and school officials already have embraced the joint statement against the school reorganization plan and are urging their residents to vote “no” on the plan.

The Maine Department of Education offered no comment Wednesday on the joint statement.

Greenville Superintendent Heather Perry said Wednesday that brochures urging residents to vote no on the Jan. 27 referendum will be circulated among students, and will be posted in local papers and public places.

If voters defeat the plan later this month, Perry said school officials would encourage the Legislature to repeal the school consolidation law in its entirety. They also would encourage state lawmakers to re-create legislation that would allow schools in rural Maine to reorganize in a manner that makes sense locally, she said. Finally, local school officials would seek to find ways to work collaboratively with other neighboring schools to reduce “real costs” associated with the operation of schools, Perry said.

“We believe our schools are fundamentally important to the education of our children, the economic future of our region and the close-knit societal aspects of our local communities,” the joint position statement reads. The reorganization plan would “seriously degrade” one or all of the above, it states.

The selectmen and school committee members are against the state’s reorganization mandate “because it is not supported by clear reasoning and accurate data,” they say. “We believe strongly that there are ways to run our schools more efficiently in a manner that will not negatively impact the education of our students or the economic future of our region.”

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