RUMFORD — The RSU 10 board Monday appointed Bruce Ross as its representative to the Dixfield Withdrawal Committee.
Ross is vice chairman of the board and a longtime board member. He will join Dixfield Selectman Bob Withrow and Jon Holmes, head of the petition drive to look into seceding from RSU 10.
A Dixfield community member must be appointed before the Withdrawal Committee meets for the first time.
Superintendent Tom Ward said the Withdrawal Committee must meet within 30 days from the official validation date of the Nov. 6 referendum question, which was about Nov. 13. At the general election, Dixfield residents voted 695-543 to begin the withdrawal process and authorized selectmen to issue notes or pledge credit for up to $50,000 to pay for legal and other fees.
According to state statute, the board chairman must call the Withdrawal Committee together. In this case, Chairman Jerry Wiley of Buckfield would call that meeting. At that meeting, the Withdrawal Committee would elect a chairman, and begin the research necessary to go forward with the withdrawal steps and develop an educational plan for Dixfield’s students.
All meetings of the Withdrawal Committee are open to the public.
Ward said Drummond and Woodsum, the same law firm that negotiated the merger of SADs 21, 39 and 43 in 2009, will represent RSU 10 once negotiations between the district and the Withdrawal Committee begin.
Many of the withdrawal petition signers believe the cost of educating Dixfield students could be lower for the town than with RSU 10. Some were also concerned that DirigoHigh School in Dixfield, and MountainValleyHigh School in Rumford, may merge.
Ward has said that creating a combined district high school was not likely, if at all, for at least a dozen years. He has said, too, that by combining SAD 39 in Buckfield, SAD 21 in Dixfield, and SAD 43 in Rumford/Mexico, several million dollars have been saved by reducing staff and making other changes.
If the Withdrawal Committee’s work carries through to advocating for a separation from RSU 10, two-thirds of the people who vote on the secession referendum must agree.
In other matters on Monday, the board:
* Accepted the resignation of Mountain Valley Middle School special education teacher Tannya Morris, effective Nov. 30. A long-term substitute teacher will fill in until a permanent replacement is found.
* Approved two cross-country skiing day trips during Christmas vacation for up to 25 members of the Dirigo Ski Team. Ski team adviser Ann Speth said the trips will enable skiers to experience ski areas in Maine or New Hampshire. At least two chaperons will accompany the students.