May 21, 2018
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School vote draws few in Mars Hill area

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

MARS HILL, Maine — Voter turnout was sluggish Tuesday afternoon as residents of eight area communities were asked to decide whether or not to approve a school regionalization plan. Results of the votes were not available Tuesday night.

If the plan were passed in all eight communities, SAD 42 in Mars Hill would join with SAD 45 in Washburn, the Bridgewater School Department and the Easton School Department to form one regional school unit.

SAD 42 serves students from Mars Hill and Blaine, as well as tuitioned students from Bridgewater and E Plantation. SAD 45 serves students in Washburn, Perham and Wade.

SAD 42 Superintendent Roger Shaw said Tuesday afternoon that he was told voter turnout in the towns in his district had been light thus far.

“When I went to vote at 9:30 a.m., there had been 12 people there before me,” he said. “I was told that now [just before 1:30 p.m.,] there has been about 58 people or so.”

He added that he had contacted Blaine officials and learned that an even smaller number of ballots had been cast there.

Shaw said he was not surprised that turnout has been small.

“It was the only question to be voted on, and it seems that there are people out there who are for this, people out there who are against it, but some are also ambivalent and they are not going to care enough about the outcome to vote,” he said.

Officials in other voting towns could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Shaw said that those involved in organizing the proposed RSU did not anticipate seeing any long-term savings.

“There will be some savings by combining administration, but frankly, we don’t expect any savings in the long term,” he said.

If the proposal does not pass, Shaw said, the planning committee already has its next steps mapped out.

“We will go back to the drawing board,” he said Tuesday.

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