Surry officials to vote on Union 93 services

Posted May 04, 2009, at 8:27 p.m.

SURRY, Maine — Union 93 will provide central office services to Surry’s school for the coming year.

The Union 93 board voted unanimously to approve the deal, which has been under discussion since the January consolidation vote. The Surry School Committee is expected to vote on the deal tonight.

Surry was one of the school districts orphaned during the consolidation vote this year. Surry, which is a member of School Union 92, opted to join the Island-Peninsula Regional School Unit planning process. That proposed RSU included the Union 93 towns of Blue Hill, Brooksville, Castine and Penobscot, and the Union 76 towns of Deer Isle, Stonington, Brooklin and Sedgwick.

Although voters in Surry and Castine approved the reorganization plan, the rest of the towns in the proposed district rejected it.

That decision left Surry without central office services beginning at the end of this school year, since most of the other Union 92 towns had chosen to join Ellsworth and Union 96 towns to form a regional school unit.

The state requires all school districts to have the services of a superintendent, and initial discussions looked at the possibility of Surry joining Union 93. Although the reorganization law allows school unions to continue to exist, education officials have indicated that it does not allow them to change the composition of those un-ions.

Under the terms of the deal, Surry will pay the school union $94,749 for the services, including all administrative services and special education services, according to Union 93 Superintendent Art Wittine. That amount is equal to what the district had paid this year for those services.

“It’s a wash for Surry,” Wittine said Monday. “They contracted out for special education, but when you figure their portion of that plus the other central office costs, it’s the same amount almost to the penny.”

The deal will require Union 93 to hire a new business manager-executive secretary, increasing the office staff from three to four people. Under the union’s cost-sharing formula, the town of Blue Hill will see an increase of about $1,000 in its share of the central office costs. The other towns in the union, however, will see de-creases in their shares ranging from $15,000 to $24,000, Wittine said.

The agreement runs for one year and likely will be reviewed after an expected statewide vote on the citizens’ petition to repeal the consolidation law.

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