Hundreds of voters turned out to cast their secret ballots Tuesday in straw polls held in Madawaska and Frenchville to gauge public interest in building a new St. John Valley regional high school at a site in Frenchville.
Questions after the presentations centered on the viability of the project if one of the school districts votes negatively in the straw poll, the potential timeline for completion of the school if the project moves forward and court action taken by a group of residents who want the site selection process to be reviewed.
Fort Kent’s nonbinding straw poll vote on the issue will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, and all ballots from the three school districts will be sealed until counted Thursday. The results will be announced that evening.
Joined under the umbrella of the Valley Unified Educational Service Center, the three school administrative units of MSADs 27 and 33 and the Madawaska School Department have worked together to address the declining enrollment and rising costs in education.
In 2018, the state authorized funding the Valley Unified effort up to $100 million for a new St. John Valley educational facility that would replace the high schools in Fort Kent, Frenchville and Madawaska, and serve students from Grand Isle to Allagash.