14 towns vote today on school unit plan

Posted Jan. 26, 2009, at 9:07 p.m.

MADISON, Maine — Today is the final chance for 14 towns and plantations in Somerset County to approve consolidation plans in order to avoid the loss of state revenue penalties imposed by the state.

The referendum vote would create one regional school unit from three school districts, SADs 59, 74 and 13. Also included in the new district, if it is approved, would be The Forks, Caratunk, Dennistown Plantation and Pleasant Ridge, which are not part of any district.

The plan would unite the districts, keeping open their individual high schools — Madison, Carrabec and Valley — which would have about 2,100 pupils.

SAD 53 is already in line for the loss of $175,000 in state revenues because SAD 59 rejected it as a partner last June. The penalty stands, even though SAD 53 voters approved the merger.

State Rep. Stacey Fitts, R-Pittsfield, has introduced emergency legislation that would suspend the penalties as long as a district was still seeking other partners.

As for today’s voting, the results will be based on the total votes cast in each of the SADs, and, if approved, the new RSU would be in effect on July 1.

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