FORT KENT, Maine — Voters in SAD 27 and SAD 10 will head to the polls on Tuesday to decide the fate of a proposed school district consolidation plan in accordance with Maine law.
If the plan fails to win voter approval, taxpayers in the two districts face $176,000 in penalties.
“This is a significant chunk of change we’d be losing at a time we can stand to lose the least,” Dr. Patrick O’Neill, SAD 27 superintendent, said. “For us to lose that would be disastrous.”
A financial disaster made worse, he said, by $80,000 in subsidies for this year already placed on hold by the state because of budgetary shortfalls.
Voters from the eight municipalities currently making up the two districts vote on the Alternative Organizational Structure, or AOS, at special referendum Jan. 27.
In a November referendum voters turned down a proposed alternative operating structure that would have combined SAD 10, Allagash; SAD 27, Fort Kent; SAD 33, St. Agatha; SAD 24, Van Buren; and the Madawaska School Department into one administrative unit.
Under the law passed in June 2007, the 290 Maine school districts have until July 1 to reorganize into approximately 80 larger, regional units with goal of streamlining operations and reducing costs.
Earlier this month, Maine Education Commissioner Susan Gendron approved the AOS plan to combine the administrations of SAD 10 and SAD 27.