LUDLOW, Maine — Town officials are taking preliminary steps to withdraw from SAD 70 in Hodgdon after residents voted in favor of leaving the school district during a recent town meeting.
Diane Hines, town manager of Ludlow, said Tuesday that the town has taken only the first step in what she described as a long process to withdraw from SAD 70, which also serves the towns of Amity, Cary Plantation, Haynesville, Hodgdon, Linneus and New Limerick.
“We have sent a certified letter to the commissioner of the Department of Education,” she said. “That is only the first step. We also let the SAD 70 superintendent and the SAD 29 superintendent know of our plans.”
At the recent annual town meeting, residents voted 67-36 to start the withdrawal process.
Hines said that there were several reasons residents want their children to go to SAD 29, which serves the towns of Houlton, Hammond, Littleton and Monticello. That school district educates approximately 1,300 students.
“A lot of the people are just wondering why we are sending kids to SAD 70,” said Hines, who noted that Houlton is closer to Ludlow than to Hodgdon. “Money is also a factor.”
Right now, there are approximately 80 school-age children in the community, but nearly half are home-schooled or they attend the Greater Houlton Christian Academy in Houlton. Ludlow is roughly three miles from Houlton, but students travel through Houlton to get to the SAD 70 schools nine miles away in Hodgdon.
Hines said that the Ludlow’s payment toward the local share of education in SAD 70 is estimated to be $217,000 this year. She said that if the community were part of SAD 29, the local share would be an estimated $169,000.
“We have to form a committee to look at this and help us through the process,” she said Tuesday. “We have met with the superintendents from SAD 29 and SAD 70, and so we are just waiting for the [DOE] commissioner so we can take the next step.”
The superintendents of SAD 70 and SAD 29 were not available for comment Tuesday afternoon.