Andover school withdrawal issues listed

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BETHEL — The SAD 44 board was presented Monday night with a list of issues expected to be negotiated with Andover, which is seeking to withdraw from the district.

Attorney William Stockmeyer of the firm of Drummond and Woodsum made a 90-minute presentation to the board, Superintendent David Murphy said.

Board Chairwoman Lainey Cross will appoint a subcommittee to work with Stockmeyer and Murphy when they negotiate with the Andover Withdrawal Committee.

Among the issues Stockmeyer listed were:

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* SAD 44 will not pay special education costs for Andover students.

* Andover must reimburse SAD 44 for transporting Andover secondary students between Telstar Regional Middle/High School and Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico.

* Tuition rates for Andover students in grades six to 12 must consider debt service.

* A 10-year exclusive tuition arrangement with SAD 44 for Andover’s grades six to 12 students would be required.

* Andover should pay its share of school building debt.

* If SAD 44 shares its fund balances with Andover, the split should be based on Andover’s percentage of local taxes, at 6.08 percent.

* SAD 44 believes it is better to have Andover hire the personnel it needs.

* Provisions must be made for emergencies or unexpected debt between Jan. 14 and official withdrawal.

Murphy declined to comment on any of these issues.

The SAD 44 board voted two years ago to close Andover Elementary School because of its declining enrollment and the cost of operating the the nearly 100-year-old building. The school has about 30-35 pupils in grades kindergarten to five.

The town paid $214,000, in addition to its share of SAD 44 operating costs of about $400,000, to keep it open in 2011-12. It paid $68,000 in addition to the current year’s share to keep it open this school year.

Last year, Andover resident voted to begin the withdrawal process and raised $24,000 for the Andover Withdrawal Committee. The committee members hired two former superintendents and a lawyer to assist them.

Susan Merrow, an Andover selectman and chairwoman of the Andover Withdrawal Committee, could not be reached Tuesday.

However, she previously said that retaining the school was crucial to the economic and social health of the town, and the committee is working to ensure that Andover students receive a high-quality education.

SAD 44 also includes Bethel, Greenwood, Newry and Woodstock.

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