Candidates have started taking out papers to run for the board of directors of the new regional school unit of Chester, Lincoln and Mattawamkeag, school officials said Thursday.
As required by the state law forcing school regionalization statewide by July 1, the three towns will hold a special election on Tuesday, April 28, SAD 67 Superintendent of Schools Michael Marcinkus said.
The only school administrative district or unit between Passadumkeag and Millinocket to get state and voter approval to form an RSU this year — voter approval coming during a special referendum on Jan. 27 — SAD 67 and its board of directors will be dissolved once the new board members take their seat, Marcinkus said.
“The new entity will be called RSU 67 and they [new board members] will be working concurrently with the old board when the new board is elected,” Marcinkus said Thursday. “It’s recognized that the current SAD board will be helping put together the new school budget but will not be voting on it. It will essentially be the new board’s budget.”
Efforts to combine the towns of SADs 30, 31 and 67, Union 110 and several communities around them, including Woodville, Lowell and Seboeis Plantation, failed in the Jan. 27 vote. The Katahdin region towns of East Millinocket, Medway and Millinocket also failed to form an alternative school unit — or alternative organizational structure — in state education parlance.
At least six SAD board members received election papers Wednesday and have started collecting the 25 signatures needed to place their names on the RSU ballots in the three towns, Marcinkus said. No more than 50 signatures are required from residents in the towns board members seek to represent.
The Maine Department of Education and State Board of Education signed off on the new RSU on March 11, according to documents filed at the Lincoln town office.
To guarantee board membership stability, the three towns will elect members to one-, two- and three-year terms on April 28, Marcinkus said. Reflecting town populations and the number of students in the school system from those towns, the RSU board will consist of eight members representing Lincoln and two apiece representing Chester and Mattawamkeag.
The towns’ success at approving RSU 67 saved them from heavy state-imposed penalties. Lincoln, for example, would have faced a reduction of about $180,000 or more in education subsidy.