RUMFORD – The SAD 43 board on Monday unanimously voted to turn the central office building over to the town of Mexico on July 1.

The decision is part of the consolidation of SAD 43, SAD 21 in Dixfield, and SAD 39, Buckfield, whose residents voted in November to join the three districts into the Western Foothills School District.

Town officials from Mexico voted to accept the building at the selectmen’s meeting last week.

The two-story former classroom building was constructed in 1962. SAD 43 Superintendent Jim Hodgkin said several inquiries have already been made for use of the building.

Once the new consolidated school system officially begins July 1, the central office will be located at the former Dixfield Elementary School, which is now serving as the central office for SAD 21.

In another consolidation matter, the board delayed taking any action on forming an ad hoc committee to organize some kind of closure event for the dissolution of SAD 43.

The district has been what it is now, a combination of the former Rumford School Department and SAD 43, which originally comprised Mexico, Roxbury and Byron, since 1989. SAD 43 was formed in the mid-1960s under the Sinclair Act.

Some school board members argued that SAD 43 isn’t really being dissolved since the district’s four schools will continue as they have been.

“I don’t think people really understood what they voted on,” Mexico representative Chris Brennick said.

Hodgkin said major changes will be made, including the elimination of the SAD 43 board and his job as SAD 43 superintendent.

While Rumford representative Tracey Higley didn’t believe that an ad hoc committee was necessary, he did say that some kind of closure was important.

He said he’d like to be involved with something as long as it did not cost the district money.

Hodgkin said the District Leadership Team may decide to organize some kind of closing activity.

Also on Monday, Mountain Valley Middle School Assistant Principal Alan Cayer updated the board on a schoolwide crisis plan currently under development. He said one drill has been practiced, a second planned for later in the week, and a full-blown evacuation drill that will involve local police and fire for April.

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