Southern Aroostook once again to vote on RSU

Posted Feb. 11, 2011, at 8:03 p.m.

STACYVILLE , Maine — Voters in 12 towns will go to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether SAD 25 in Stacyville and Community School District 9 in Dyer Brook should consolidate to form a regional school unit.

Public hearings were held in late January so residents could ask questions about the proposal, which would bring together 835 students.

Both districts have tried and failed to pass similar plans with other districts.

SAD 25 consists of the towns of Stacyville, Patten, Sherman and Mount Chase. CSD 9 consists of Island Falls, Dyer Brook, Oakfield, Merrill, Smyrna and Crystal. Moro Plantation and Hersey also are joining with the two districts.

John Doe, SAD 25 superintendent, said earlier this week that the feedback he has heard about the proposal in his communities was mostly positive.

“Right now, it is hard to tell what sort of cost savings we will see,” he said. “The idea of forming an RSU is so that we can consolidate services and eliminate duplication, but it will be up to the new RSU board and the new superintendent to determine the actual extent of the savings.”

Doe said several factors could influence overall savings. He noted that Gov. Paul LePage said he had put an additional $63 million for education into his budget, and that the valuation of the communities could change by the time the RSU is formed, which would affect how much they would contribute to education on the local level.

Under the plan, there would be one superintendent for the new combined district. If the proposal passes, a new RSU board would be formed, which would set up the criteria to identify a superintendent for the combined school system.

Voters in both districts have to approve the proposal or it fails.

Terry Comeau, superintendent in CSD 9, could not be reached Friday for comment.

Polling places will be open the usual hours in all towns on Feb. 15, according to Doe.

It has been an uphill climb for both districts in terms of complying with the state’s school consolidation law.

Both tried to form an RSU with SAD 29 in Houlton, SAD 70 in Hodgdon and SAD 14 in Danforth in 2008, but the measure failed.

A proposal for both to join with SAD 70 and SAD 14 in 2009 also failed.

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