East Millinocket school lawyers in talks with Powerball winner about new roof donation

Gloria C. Mackenzie (center), a Maine native who now lives in Zephyrhills, Fla., has offered to pay to replace the roof of Schenck High School in East Millinocket.
COLIN HACKLEY | REUTERS
Gloria C. Mackenzie (center), a Maine native who now lives in Zephyrhills, Fla., has offered to pay to replace the roof of Schenck High School in East Millinocket.
By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff
Posted Aug. 09, 2013, at 6:42 p.m.

EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — Voters will probably have to approve the town accepting a $2 million gift from a lottery winner and former resident whose family has said they want to replace Schenck High School’s roof, the school board’s chairman said.

Attorneys for the school system and for East Millinocket native Gloria MacKenzie, who now lives in Florida, will be discussing the precise steps both sides have to take to ensure that her generous offer can be fulfilled, said Daniel Byron, chairman of the East Millinocket School Committee.

“The trust is being set up now and we will probably have to have the vote,” Byron said late Thursday night.

No particular conditions have been set by the family regarding the money, Byron said, but Superintendent Quenten Clark said he expects that the family’s trust for charitable works will likely create a form of contract for both sides to sign to ensure that the money is used in an agreed-upon manner. No timelines have been set.

Earlier, Clark had said that the school budget’s passage was a condition of the donation, but he backed away from that statement on Monday because he said he had not heard anything recently from the family.

Rumored since MacKenzie came forward with the winning $590.5 million Powerball ticket on June 5, collecting a lump sum of $370.9 million that totaled $278 million after taxes, she sent word of her intent through family members who visited Clark’s office on July 23. Residents were thrilled with the news.

Several family members have refused to comment publicly on the offer since then.

Townspeople have wrestled with the problem of the school’s leaky roof all year. The school board has recommended that voters support a $1.87 million proposal to fix the roof and make some other repairs at a referendum that has been delayed until the school system’s proposed budget is passed.

Schenck, which also houses K-4 students in the Opal Myrick Elementary School wing, will get about $636,000 in state aid for the roof job. The Board of Selectmen opposes the project, but opted to let voters decide the issue, and the school board supports it.

The $4.2 million budget proposal passed Thursday night, 226 votes to 178. The school board will meet at Schenck on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., Byron said.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/08/09/news/penobscot/east-millinocket-school-lawyers-in-talks-with-powerball-winner-about-new-roof-donation/ printed on September 18, 2014