Millinocket school board might see more resignations

Posted Dec. 23, 2011, at 6:14 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 23, 2011, at 6:51 p.m.

MILLINOCKET, Maine — Arnold Hopkins might not be the only Millinocket School Committee member to resign his position.

Board member Donald Dow said he might announce his resignation when the committee meets next on Jan. 3.

“That hasn’t been decided at this time,” Dow said Friday. “That is all I am going to say. I am not going to say anything more.”

Hopkins’ abrupt resignation came after a school committee meeting Tuesday night with a letter Hopkins, the board’s chairman, wrote Wednesday to board Vice Chairman Kevin Gregory, Superintendent of Schools Kenneth Smith said.

Gregory did not return telephone messages or emails seeking comment earlier this week, but did provide a copy of the email Hopkins sent to him.

“Hi Kevin. I resign.” Hopkins wrote.

Attempts to contact Hopkins on Thursday and Friday were not successful.

Hopkins most recently had made the news by saying school leaders had instituted a spending freeze in anticipation of a predicted $140,000 to $150,000 shortfall caused partly by the school system’s failure to meet its goals for tuition-paying Chinese students at Stearns High School.

Hopkins bases his estimate of the deficit, he said, on expenses plus a collection of shortfalls, including $72,000 resulting from three Chinese students enrolling at Stearns instead of an anticipated six; approximately $25,000 from expecting $321,000 in undesignated funds but discovering $296,603; and $10,000 in the School Department’s legal services account.

In an account published Thursday in a local newspaper, the Lincoln News, Hopkins did not retract the statements but said that he opted to resign from the board after the other four board members pressed for his resignation from the chairmanship. They and Smith felt that those estimates were inaccurate and that he had no right to make those statements, Hopkins said.

The decision to resign from the board was entirely his own, Hopkins said. According to the Lincoln News, Dow and Gregory also said they might resign.

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