MILO, Maine — SAD 41 in Milo got a little bit more neighborly with SAD 31 in the Howland area on Monday.
After weeks of discussions with their neighbors on both sides, the SAD 41 board of directors voted 6-2 to pursue an alternative organizational structure with SAD 31. Final approval for such a collaboration, however, will be up to voters in the two communities. Four of the 12 directors were absent from Monday’s meeting.
“The general feeling was that there were more possible opportunities for kids going with SAD 31,” SAD 41 Superintendent Michael Wright said Tuesday.
The directors also had considered partnering with SAD 4 in the Guilford area and SAD 68 in the Dover-Foxcroft area, but chose SAD 31 because the district has a K-12 system, according to Wright. While SAD 4 also has a K-12 system, SAD 68 has a K-8 system and its high school students pay tuition to attend Foxcroft Academy, which is independent.
SAD 41 faces a penalty of about $100,000 for not consolidating earlier, but Wright said the focus of moving ahead with any change should be about the children.
As voted, directors will file two notices of intent to the Maine Department of Education to consolidate administrative offices either with SAD 31 alone, or SAD 31 and Greenbush.
The district will develop a reorganization plan, which will take into consideration decisions of governance, size and composition of the board, and method of voting. Action on the final plan to consolidate will be up to residents during a referendum vote.
Howland area Superintendent Jerry White said Tuesday that the SAD 31 board of directors is expected to vote tonight on whether to partner with SAD 41.