May 23, 2018
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Caribou area OKs, Fort Fairfield area rejects RSU plan

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

CARIBOU, Maine — A plan to form a Regional School Unit in the Caribou and Fort Fairfield area was approved by voters in some towns and rejected in others Tuesday.

Caribou, Limestone and Stockholm, where the plan was approved, will move forward with implementing the plan to consolidate school administration.

The SAD 20 towns of Fort Fairfield, Caswell, New Sweden, Westmanland and Woodland rejected the plan and will now explore other options for regionalization.

Frank McElwain, superintendent of the Caribou School Department, said that some towns voted against the plan, but enough towns supported it so that an RSU could be formed.

The regionalization proposal put forth by the affected districtsprovided that if the plan was rejected by some towns but accepted by school units “representing at least 59% of the average number of resident pupils within all of the SAUs in the proposed region,” those towns could move forward to form an RSU.

McElwain said he was happy with the outcome of the vote.

“I think this will help us to build on relationships that we already have and to form relationships with others,” he said. “This also brings us in compliance with the law and helps us avoid financial penalties.”

Voters in SAD 20 in Fort Fairfield rejected the plan, and the district has already begun looking at other options, Superintendent Marc Gendron said Wednesday.

Gendron said he was uncertain whether the district would have saved money if it had elected to join the RSU.

“We have already started looking at our options for regionalization,” he said. “We are exploring options for an Alternative Organizational Structure.”

The district could face an $86,000 penalty for failing to approve a plan to consolidate school administrations.

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