Rockland area school merger forum postponed

Posted March 18, 2013, at 6:33 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The public forum scheduled for Tuesday evening on the merger of the two middle schools in Regional School Unit 13 has been postponed because of the anticipated snowstorm.

The forum has been rescheduled to 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Rockland District Middle School.

Superintendent Lew Collins two weeks ago unveiled a proposal to merge Rockland District Middle School and Thomaston Grammar School starting in September as a budget-saving measure.

Collins said the merger is a proposal and not set in stone.

The proposal calls for sixth- and seventh-graders from all the communities except St. George being educated at Thomaston Grammar School in Thomaston. In addition, fifth-graders from Thomaston would remain at Thomaston Grammar.

The two schools are a little more than four miles apart.

This would create a middle school of about 250 students, he said, which would still be small in terms of middle schools.

The merger is being proposed because RSU 13 is facing a projected $1.6 million budget gap.

Collins said he is working on numbers to determine what the savings would be with the merger. There will be savings with utilities, he said, because the South School would not be used. The kindergarten through fifth-grade students in Rockland would be relocated to the Rockland District Middle School building, which is attached to the South School in Rockland.

Rockland District Middle School was built in 1998. The South School was built in the 1949 but expanded and modernized in 1998.

Fifth-graders from Owls Head and South Thomaston would remain at the Owls Head Central School. St. George fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders would remain at the St. George School.

RDMS currently has 183 students, while Thomaston Grammar has 114, according to enrollment figures provided Friday by the district.

The South School currently has 299 students in kindergarten through fourth grade.

The merger of the two middle schools would come two years after the district merged its two high schools. The merger of Rockland District High School in Rockland and Georges Valley High School in Thomaston created Oceanside High School.

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