Share of school costs rubs some the wrong way at Atkinson town meeting

Posted March 22, 2011, at 5:10 p.m.
Last modified March 22, 2011, at 5:27 p.m.

ATKINSON, Maine — About 20 residents braved bad weather Monday to act on the annual town meeting warrant.

Residents were told that about 70 cents of every tax dollar raised supports SAD 41 schools, a fact that irritated some residents, who believe the town is paying a larger share for its 32 students than other communities.

George Johnson, the town’s school board representative, said the town pays 10 percent of the district’s operational costs while only 4.3 percent of the students in the district are from Atkinson.

Johnson said the district could save $280,000 by closing the Marion C. Cook Elementary School in LaGrange, but residents in that town have fought to keep the school open. Atkinson’s elementary school was closed several years ago.

New this year were requests from the Brownville and Milo recreation departments, which serve Atkinson children. Residents approved Milo’s $300 request and Brownville’s $150 request.

It was noted that the town is now covered solely by the Dover-Foxcroft Fire Department, a change that began last year. In the past, the town also contracted with the Milo Fire Department. Selectman Carl Dow II said the change was made because Milo charged the town not only a retainer fee but also a per-man, per-truck cost. Dover-Foxcroft works with just a contract fee, he said.

Kathy Kinney was re-elected town clerk, treasurer and tax collector. Loretta Nuite was elected selectman, Brian Brick as constable and Sharon Bemis as SAD 41 director.

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