Four school districts to discuss partnering


DIXFIELD – A meeting of four nearby school districts will likely take place within the next few weeks to begin planning a possible restructured district as mandated by the state, a school official says.

Tom Ward, superintendent of SAD 21, said during the board’s regular meeting Monday that his district will look at the impact of state aid for education if it joined with adjacent SADs 43 and 44, or SADs 43 and 39.

Financial information from the state Department of Education is expected to be received by the end of the month.

“We want to look at all the possibilities,” Ward said Tuesday.

When and where the meeting will take place has not been determined.

He said district superintendents have been discussing the matter, particularly since a state education official made a presentation at Mountain Valley High School last month.

Virtually all districts in the state are required to file a letter of intent with the DOE by Aug. 31. That letter, Ward said, is not binding. In other words, although it may state that SAD 21 will partner with a particular district, plans could change.

However, binding reorganization plans that explain which districts will be merging with one another must be submitted to the state by Dec. 1.

State law mandates that most so-called super districts must have at least 2,500 students. SAD 21 has just under 1,000; SAD 43 has just over 1,500; SAD 44 has just over 800; and SAD 39 has approximately 600 students.

In other matters Monday, the SAD 21 board approved the creation of a middle school team that will assist the principal with staff and curriculum development, and help plan topics to be covered during the late arrival Wednesday time period for teachers.

Ward said the high school already has such a group.

“We’re moving in the direction of the middle school concept that involves teaming,” he said.

A representative staff member from grades five through eight, special education and the arts will sit on the committee and will likely meet on a monthly basis.