RSU 10 board continues discussions on possible Byron withdrawal

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RUMFORD — A subcommittee of the Regional School Unit 10 board reported Monday night on discussions it had with the Byron Withdrawal Committee.

RSU 10 directors also heard an update on a recently completed project at Mountain Valley Middle School.

Byron, with nine students enrolled in RSU 10, is taking steps to pull out of the district because of the cost for each student to attend. Byron pays about $30,000 per student while the district’s other towns pay far less.

Board member and Withdrawal Subcommittee member Barbara Chow said 91 percent of land in Byron is in tree growth, which is taxed at a lower rate than other property.

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“It’s not our fault,” she said. “It’s the state evaluation that does this.”

She is also concerned that if one small town leaves the district, others may follow.

The district includes the towns of Buckfield, Hartford, Sumner, Canton, Peru, Dixfield, Carthage, Mexico, Rumford, Roxbury and Hanover.

Chow, along with subcommittee members Peter DeFilipp and Denise Cross, outlined their concerns with the Byron Withdrawal Committee’s proposal.

Among them are how the withdrawal would affect school taxes in other towns, costs for special education services and transportation.

DeFilipp pointed out that Byron’s tax rate is far lower than Mexico’s, the town he represents.

Superintendent Craig King said he would have financial and other data prepared for the next board meeting Jan. 12, 2015, should the withdrawal proposal pass.

The board’s subcommittee will meet again with Byron’s representatives in the next few weeks to further discuss the proposal.

Mountain Valley Middle School Principal Ryan Casey and seventh-graders Saydie Garbarini and Avery Sevigny told the board about the first topic of the Quest program that was completed at the end of the first trimester.

Casey said the aim of the Quest program is to improve attendance and help students become more engaged in their education. During the first semester, many students studied the Civil War one day a week in each of their classes. Among the activities students completed were reading about a Civil War soldier, meeting with area veterans and creating displays about the topic.

Students will create similar projects during the second and third trimesters on career exploration and science.

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