Town Withdrawal Committees set meetings, consider goals

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DIXFIELD — Committee members from four towns considering withdrawing from Regional School Unit 10 met Wednesday night to schedule meetings and consider goals for establishing their own school district.

Withdrawal Committees from Dixfield, Peru, Canton and Carthage chose Scott Blaisdell of Dixfield to moderate meetings.

The four towns were members of SAD 21 before it merged with SADs 36 and 43 in 2011 under the state school consolidation law. The consolidation law was meant to save money.

Foremost in the minds of most of the withdrawal committees’ members was to possibly leave RSU 10 to have more local control of education and finances.

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The committees agreed Wednesday to meet at 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month at Dirigo High School in Dixfield, beginning Sept. 9.

Belfast attorney Kristin Collins of Kelly and Collins LLC, was previously chosen to represent the committees. She was not present Wednesday night, but is expected to be at the Sept. 9 meeting, Dixfield Withdrawal Committee member Barry Prescott said.

He said Blaisdell was chosen as moderator so each committee will be better able to stay on task. Blaisdell is not a member of any of the committees, but he was involved in petitioning to start the withdrawal process.

Dixfield Withdrawal Committee member and RSU 10 board member Barbara Chow provided a list of goals and ideas for the committees to consider. They include:

* Retain some of the services provided by RSU 10;

* Share RSU 10 offices; and

* Study the feasibility of forming a separate school district.

Others ideas included student transportation issues, ample educational opportunities, attendance at the Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico, review of school budgets the past few years, an inventory of staff and materials for the four towns, and student populations in the four towns.

“We must keep reminding ourselves to get information and then make decisions based on that information,” Canton Withdrawal Committee member Don Hutchins said.

Dixfield Withdrawal Committee member and Selectman Dana Whittemore suggested the four towns could develop an academy and accept students from around the world.

Other RSU 10 towns are Hanover, Rumford, Mexico, Byron, Roxbury, Buckfield, Sumner and Hartford. Byron is also in the midst of the withdrawal process.

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