SAD 70 to discuss new plan for consolidation

Posted Jan. 15, 2011, at 4:01 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 7:20 a.m.

HODGDON, Maine — Residents of SAD 70 will gather Tuesday evening to ask questions and weigh in on a proposal for the district to consolidate with SAD 14 in Danforth.

The public hearing will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, at the Mill Pond School.

As part of a recently drafted proposal, the two districts are considering merging administrations to form an alternative organizational structure. The state Department of Education signed off on the plan in December.

SAD 70 is made up of the towns of Hodgdon, Amity, Cary Plantation, Haynesville, Linneus, Ludlow and New Limerick. SAD 14 serves Danforth and Weston.

The proposed reorganization plan would unite central offices in SAD 70 and SAD 14, as well as the towns of Orient and Bancroft.

Under the plan, each district would keep a separate school board and have control over all aspects of their schools. At the same time, an AOS board would be created to govern the combined districts. It would be made up of members from each area.

School officials said both districts would maintain superintendents until their existing contracts expire. After that, only one superintendent would be hired to oversee both districts.

The public hearings are the next step in the consolidation process. After the hearings, a public referendum vote will be held Monday, Jan. 31, in each of the school districts.

If voters in both districts don’t accept the plan, it will be scrapped.

Thus far, neither district has had much luck getting voters to accept consolidation plans.

In 2008, both districts started the process to form a Regional School Unit with SAD 29 in Houlton, SAD 25 in Stacyville, and Community School District 9 in Dyer Brook. The plan failed at the polls.

The two districts then began discussions to form an AOS with CSD 9 and SAD 25. That plan also failed.

SAD 70 then talked extensively with SAD 29 about merging, but leaders in SAD 29 pulled out of the plan last year after approximately one year of negotiations.

By not consolidating, SAD 14 was penalized $23,000 in its current fiscal budget.

SAD 70 was penalized $93,000 in last year’s budget for not complying with the state law requiring school administration consolidation.

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