Four eastern Maine educational districts will race to finish forming EMASS, the Eastern Maine Area School Systems, now that the state has approved the idea.
Officials from East Range II Community School District, SAD 30 and Unions 107 and 110 will start preparing to seek voter approval of the proposed alternative organizational structure in a June 8 referendum, SAD 30 Superintendent Michael Lambert said.
“The primary challenge will be making sure that all the voters are properly informed of what the proposal means for their districts so they can make an informed decision,” Lambert said Friday.
Final Maine Department of Education approval came late Wednesday afternoon, Union 107 Superintendent Barry McLaughlin said in an e-mail.
If voters also agree with it, EMASS will be the second new school system formed in the Lincoln Lakes and Katahdin regions since a state law requiring school consolidation was passed in 2007. The SAD 67 towns of Chester, Lincoln and Mattawamkeag agreed to form RSU 67 in May 2009.
As with RSU 67, officials from the would-be EMASS say they don’t expect any significant change in the day-to-day routines of students and parents in the four districts.
SAD 30 serves 210 students from Lee, Springfield, Webster and Winn, according to the school system website. It has a joint school board with Union 110, which serves about 50 students from Lakeville and the plantations of Carroll, Drew, Macwahoc and Reed.
East Range serves Codyville and Topsville. Union 107 serves Cooper, Grand Lake Stream Plantation, Meddybemps, Princeton, Talmadge and Waite.
By state law, school and town officials have until July 1, the start of the 2010-11 state year, to finish forming the AOS — presuming voter approval, McLaughlin has said. Among the important dates if approval comes:
— An initial AOS board meeting on June 14 to elect a superintendent and discuss a 2010-11 AOS budget.
— Another AOS board meeting for EMASS on June 22. No site has been selected for either meeting.
— Municipal budget passage in the EMASS towns on June 30, the last day of the 2009-10 fiscal year.
If EMASS is formed, it will consist of about 950 students.