May 21, 2018
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Katahdin towns planning votes on student exchange contracts

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

East Millinocket and Medway leaders were planning Wednesday to set dates when they and voters could weigh new, exclusive four-year student exchange contracts between both towns, Union 113 school Superintendent Quenten Clark said.

East Millinocket’s Board of Selectmen met Wednesday to sign warrants and otherwise prepare for a town meeting on Tuesday and a special validation vote two days later. In that election, voters will decide whether to accept the new contracts and pay Medway about $591,000 in tuition for East Millinocket students to attend Medway Middle School next year, Clark said.

Medway’s Board of Selectmen and school committee will meet at 6 and 6:30 p.m. Monday to discuss a four-year tuition contract that would pay East Millinocket about $461,000 next year to accept Medway students at Opal Myrick School and about $500,000 to accept Medway students at Schenck High School. Both schools share the same building in East Millinocket.

A Medway town meeting and referendum would be scheduled then for a later date, Clark said.

“This is not going to, at this point, raise taxes in either community,” Clark said Wednesday. “Frankly, right now we are just dealing with the details of getting the town meetings in order.”

East Millinocket officials will likely fund the expected $130,000 shortfall from a town reserve account, Clark said.

Clint Linscott, chairman of the East Millinocket Board of Selectmen, declined to comment on the matter Wednesday. Kathy Lee, Medway’s administrative assistant, referred comment on the matter to Clark.

The towns since 1998 had assumed an equal exchange of students until someone noticed that Medway was accepting more East Millinocket students than vice-versa. State education officials advised the towns that the situation required new contracts paying the towns for every student sent out of town, Clark said.

The four-year contracts require parents to keep their children in both towns’ schools. Members of the East Millinocket and Medway school committees agreed to maintain the exclusive relationship because the Schenck and Medway Middle buildings both will require renovations in the next several years that might not occur without a guaranteed flow of students, Clark said.

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