A decision on whether to consolidate administration for Dixfield, Rumford, Buckfield and Hanover school systems remained unsettled late Tuesday.

The four towns of SAD 43 based in Rumford approved consolidation with neighboring SAD 21, Dixfield, and SAD 39 based in Buckfield, by a vote of 3,212 to 1,596.

In SAD 21, with all but Dixfield reporting in, the vote in favor of the merger was 1,066 to 695. Results from SAD 39 have not yet been reported.

The town of Hanover voted 117-60 to consolidate with its neighboring three districts.

No results were available from the SAD 39 towns of Hartford, Sumner and Buckfield.

All three districts must agree to merge. If one of the three does not, then plans must be started again to find partners.

The plan to create the Western Foothills School District began more than a year ago under a mandate by the state Department of Education calling for most districts to combine with one or more of their neighbors as part of a cost-savings measure.

The three districts and Hanover would have an enrollment of about 3,100 students, a number many studies show that is the most cost efficient and educationally sound.

The SAD 21 board will discuss the results of the election at their meeting Monday, Nov. 10, Superintendent Tom Ward said. SAD 39, which meets Wednesday, will discuss the results, but Superintendent Rick Colpitts wasn’t sure if they would make any decisions. The SAD 43 board is also scheduled to hold a special meeting Wednesday if the proposal passes.

SAD 43 Superintendent Jim Hodgkin was not surprised that Mexico voted for the merger. He was surprised, however, by the margin, which was 948-503.

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