Dixfield panel signs agreement with RSU 10

DIXFIELD — The Dixfield Withdrawal Committee unanimously approved an agreement with RSU 10 Wednesday night that would stop the move to leave the school district.

“I’m pretty happy with how it came out,” committee and school board member Bruce Ross said.

The agreement, which was negotiated by attorneys Dan Stockford for the committee and Bill Stockmeyer for RSU 10, could serve as a model for any other town, he said.

It will go before the school board at 6:30 p.m. April 8 at the Hartford-Sumner Elementary School in Sumner.

Committee Chairman Bob Withrow, who is also a Dixfield selectman, said the agreement will also go before the Board of Selectmen to be formatted for a referendum on the June 11 ballot. The question will ask Dixfield voters for approval to end the withdrawal effort and disband the committee.

Withrow said the committee has yet to be billed by its lawyer, so he does not know how much of the $50,000 voters approved for legal and other costs has been used.

The committee was formed last year after RSU 10 Superintendent Tom Ward suggested combining Dirigo High School in Dixfield and Mountain Valley High School in Rumford to to save money.

Since then, the school board has developed a 10-year facilities plan that calls for maintaining those high schools, as well as Buckfield Junior-Senior High School. That could change if state subsidy or student enrollment drops by 25 or more percent, according to the agreement.

Ross said a recent study of the demographics of the area showed that student enrollment should remain stable, or increase slightly, in the near future.

However, committee member Jon Holmes said that prediction could change.

“If one business up the street closes, that would be a big difference,” he said, referring to the NewPage paper mill in Rumford.

Among the few residents who attended Wednesday night’s meeting were Judy and Charles Berg of Buckfield, who have been pursuing establishing a school withdrawal committee for their town.

RSU 10 is comprised of the Mountain Valley region towns of Rumford, Mexico, Roxbury and Byron; the Dirigo region towns of Dixfield, Carthage, Canton and Peru; the Nezinscot region towns of Buckfield, Hartford and Sumner; and the town of Hanover.

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 's picture

Wow. I should keep my comment

Wow. I should keep my comment here to a minimum or else it may not be allowed... Just seriously hate the way some members of the "Save Dirigo" group views people and schools from Rumford. You're no better than us. There is no difference between the towns, and the people who live on the streets you named certainly do not "have nothing". The comments and judgements are sickening and I can see how rediculously closed minded you are, and state opinions without ANY sort of reason to back up anything you've said.

 's picture

Superintendent Tom Ward

Superintendent Tom Ward suggested a study of costs associated with combining Dirigo and Mountain Valley. He never suggested it to happen. The committee came to a conclusion that Dr. Ward's study would have revealed, that enrollment has direct effect on costs and would have determined if consolidation is a cost effective option. He never had any intent to exclude public opinion from the study. His study would have cost $0 extra for the taxpayer. What will the committee study cost ?

Extortion is what it is........

plain and simple. The Save Dirigo Group want their cake and ice cream both. In these economic times they were just thinking about themselves and not the affect it has on other towns in the RSU and the affect it has on tax payers. But do they care. I don't think so!. Have they thought about their actions. Back in February I was reading about graduation rates per towns. Dixfields wasn't higher than Mountain Valleys. So the excuse that RSU 10 member Dixfield providing a better education than MVHS doesn't hold water. . Here is one plan that should have been considered;
1. MVHS 9-12
2. DHS 7-8
3. New Peru School Pre K-3 (Old SAD 21 Area)
4 TJ. Kelly School 4-6 (Old SAD 2 Area)
5. MVMS or Meroby 4-6 ( Old SAD 43 Area)
6. RES Pre K-3 (Old SAD 43 Area)
7. OLD SAD 39 (All schools remain the same)
8. Admin building stays the same.

What does this do?
1.Cost savings for all towns in RSU
Through combining sports programs and selling other buildings to Senior
living investors for development or leasing to University of Maine as an
alternative; or simply close and sell. Or even use one for a River Valley
Health & Recreation center with some renovation.
2. Creates opportunities to offer more courses
3. Then look at new bus garage in one central location. Possibly at Region 9 so
it would help create diesel mechanic course offering.

Citizens and Selectboards should take more of an interest in the RSU during these economic times.

Eric  LeBlanc's picture

It's not just about a better

It's not just about a better education. It's also about a better learning environment. The Dixfield schools are more civil. There are far fewer "gangsta" thug wannabes and white trash degenerates than in the Rumford schools.

Jeff Bailey's picture

Be serious

I find those comments personally offensive and ignorant. To say, without any facts or statistics, that there is more gang activity five minutes away from another town is absurd. I teach in that town and I am proud to teach there. Mudslinging will neither provide students with a better education nor save taxpayers money. This stereotyping only serves to incite tensions and not to solve problems and find solutions.

Eric  LeBlanc's picture

I'm not saying there's

I'm not saying there's legitimate gang activity, just a bunch of wannabe thugs who think they're "gangstas" The towns may only be 5 minutes away but Dixfield has no Waldo Street, Cumberland Street, Falmouth Street, Main Avenue etc. Most of those kids have nothing so they embrace a culture that has nothing. They get a sense of self worth and pride by emulating thugs. Drive around Rumford then drive around Dixfield and tell me there's no difference.

More civil

Where did someone get beatup? Let me see! I think that incident took place at Dirigo. Gangstas are every where. Sounds like someone is discrimative. Who has tainted your way of thinking. Learning takes place anywhere. It depeneds on how much an individual wants to learn. Individual drive to succeed can happen anywhere. When all together everyone blends in. Negative thinking is a deterant to success. The thinking you have is a sure track to failure.


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