Fayette, Winthrop voters approve merging schools

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FAYETTE — Residents of Fayette and Winthrop voted 668-18 Tuesday to merge school administrative and business offices into one operation.

Fayette residents voted 153-6 to approve an alternative organizational structure, and Winthrop voted 515-12 to approve the initiative with Fayette, both Fayette Deputy Clerk Clarissa Herrin and Winthrop Town Clerk Lisa Gilliam said.

The plan will be put into place July 1.

“We’re happy,” Gilliam said.

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It means that the two school systems will have one central administrative and business office. Winthrop Superintendent Stephen Cottrell would oversee the two systems while Fayette Superintendent Briane Coulthard would be the business manager and remain the principal of Fayette Central School.

Winthrop’s Transportation Director Dave Brackett would oversee transportation in both school systems.

The merger is projected to save taxpayers in both towns money and avoid paying a state penalty, which combined, is more than $200,000.

Each school system will continue to have its own school board, budgets and schools. In addition there will be a joint school board to oversee the new system structure.

Fayette residents retain their rights to continue to send their children in grades six through 12 to schools they choose that qualify under the Fayette School Department, including Winthrop, Livermore Falls and Maranacook. The Fayette Central School serves children through fifth grade.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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