MILLINOCKET, Maine — The Town Council will vote today on whether to endorse a bill before the Legislature that would repeal a state law that fines municipalities that have failed to consolidate schools.
For the council, supporting LD 285, An Act to Amend the Laws Governing the Consolidation of School Administrative Units to Delay All Penalties for 2 Years, is essentially a no-brainer.
Millinocket residents voted in favor of a consolidation plan that would have linked town schools with those in East Millinocket and Medway, but the residents of those towns rejected that plan in voting on Jan 27.
Millinocket School Committee members voted 5-0 on Tuesday in support of a resolve endorsing LD 285. Members said the law was fundamentally unfair to municipalities such as Millinocket, which made good-faith efforts to comply with the law but found that compliance was ultimately out of their hands.
Council Chairman Wallace Paul expressed frustration that East Millinocket and Medway, the most logical school partners for Millinocket in the Katahdin region given their proximity to the town, have repeatedly rebuffed the idea.
“I would be thrilled to open the door to a true consolidation but I’m not holding my breath,” he said in an e-mail. “My best analogy is that it is like asking the same woman out for a date over and over with her always saying no — eventually you realize that she doesn’t want to go out with you. I get it now — hopefully it will be clear to everyone that we need to move on.”
The East Millinocket Board of Selectmen voted 4-0 on Monday also to issue a resolve supporting LD 285, at the request of the East Millinocket School Committee, which also supports the law.
The Millinocket council will meet at 4:30 p.m. today.