WALDOBORO, Maine — The Regional School Unit 40 board has reversed course and agreed to join a larger midcoast area board that could eventually create one campus for a high school, vocational school and post-secondary educational facilities.
The RSU 40 Board voted April 11 to appoint two members to serve on the Many Flags/One Community Board.
In October, the RSU 40 board had rejected a governance plan that called for the creation of the regional board. The board also had refused to have any of its members serve on the board.
RSU 40 board Chairman Danny Jackson said Tuesday that there were members on the board who felt strongly that the district should have a voice in the planning being done by Many Flags. Jackson said, however, he did not vote for the reversal.
“I feel it is just another layer of administration,” Jackson said.
“The newly formed Many Flags/One Community Board of Directors is excited with the RSU 40 School Board’s decision to be a part of Many Flags/One Community,” stated Audrey Lovering, executive director of Many Flags on Thursday. “We are looking forward to having RSU 40 involved with regional education planning and curriculum development.”
RSU 40 consists of Waldoboro, Warren, Union, Washington and Friendship.
Many Flags had originally been proposed as a new high school for students going to Rockland District High School and to Georges Valley High School in Thomaston, with the intention of locating the vocational school, a community college and technical college on the same grounds. RDHS and GVHS have sinced merged into Oceanside High School.
With no state funding in sight for the Many Flags concept, the plan has evolved into creating common schedules among all the school districts in the midcoast, and developing regional transportation and food service.
RSU 40 Superintendent Susan Pratt said there is no cost being assessed to the district for joining the board. The board has been working on bylaws and one of its tasks is to come up with a cost-sharing formula.
Many Flags also received in January a $348,000 federal grant to come up with a plan to address challenges faced by children in the community as a way to make them successful in school. The district could then be eligible for up to $6 million per year for three to five years as part of the Promise Neighborhoods program to implement the social, family and health service systems needed to support students.
The Many Flags board now has two members each from RSU 13 based in Rockland, RSU 40, the Five-Town CSD based in Camden and the Region 8 vocational district in Rockland. The community college system, the University of Maine and the three local Penobscot Bay islands combined (Vinalhaven, North Haven and Islesboro) each have one member on the board for a total of 11.