SAD 36 leader raps governor’s plan

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LIVERMORE – Ashley O’Brien, SAD 36’s chairman, appealed to the selectpersons and residents to attend the public hearing on Gov. John Baldacci’s school consolidation plan.

“I saw a sign in a local convenience store where I buy gas that states that a certain brand of cigarettes are ‘light and luscious.’ That’s the same as the governor’s plan. It’s not intellectually honest, the plan was put together in 13 days,” he said.

O’Brien cited a recent letter that state Sen. John Nutting, D-Leeds, submitted to the Sun Journal entitled, “Rich get richer.” According to Nutting’s letter, cities like Lewiston-Auburn could vote for any spending they wanted, and then because some rural towns have a higher mill rate, these towns would be paying their share of that spending.

“Although the plan says no schools will close in the next year, there is no promise or nothing to prevent school closings in the future,” said O’Brien. “By July 1st, all assets will get transferred to the new super districts, such as cash, assets, etc., but that doesn’t mean the debt will be transferred also,” he said.

“I’m concerned that the towns will be saddled with debt,” said Selectperson Tom Berry.

O’Brien said that part of the problem with the bill is that it didn’t go through the Attorney General’s office and there are a number of constitutional issues.

“I encourage you to go to the hearing yourself, get your friends and family to go. This plan is not what we want,” said O’Brien.

Selectperson Brenda Merrill said, “It’s like having another county bill.”

The public hearing is being held at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 5. at the Augusta Civic Center.

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