Newry board appoints selectman to SAD 44 Withdrawal Committee

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NEWRY — Selectman Brooks Morton is the fourth and newest member of Newry’s SAD 44 Withdrawal Committee.

Morton was the only one of the three selectmen who didn’t have a potential conflict of interest, Administrator Loretta Powers said Wednesday morning.

Withdrawal Committee lawyer Daniel S. Stockford of Brann & Isaacson of Lewiston and Portland told Powers prior to Monday’s special board meeting that neither Chairwoman Wendy Hanscom nor Selectman Gary Wight should be named to the committee.

Hanscom is a longtime SAD 44 employee and Telstar Regional High School secretary, and Wight’s wife, Gail Wight, is the district’s athletic director for students from grades six through 12 and coaches field hockey. Additionally, Gary Wight used to be the school’s Nordic ski team coach.

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On Oct. 21, selectmen appointed Bill Andrews to represent the public on the committee, Bonnie Largess as the school board member and Jim Sysko as the petitioner.

Newry’s withdrawal process began after Sysko circulated a petition, citing the large amount of money Newry pays to the five-town district and the quality of education their students receive.

Newry voters decided Sept. 24 to continue the multistep withdrawal process.

The committee will have its organizational meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5, in the Town Office.

SAD 44 board Chairman Lainey Cross will open the meeting and the committee will appoint a chairman, Powers said. The chairman, who is the only committee member who can consult with Stockford, runs the meeting instead of Cross, according to state rules.

Newry joined the district 1965. Its assessment for this fiscal year is nearly $3 million. SAD 44’s budget is $10.56 million.

Other SAD 44 towns include Bethel, Greenwood, Woodstock and Andover, which is withdrawing from the district effective July 1, 2015.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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