RUMFORD – The SAD 43 board is planning a reunion and a meal to mark the end of its existence, before the new consolidated Western Foothills school system begins July 1.

Superintendent Jim Hodgkin said tentative plans are to invite past directors to the board’s final meeting June 15, and hold a potluck meal or cookout for all staff on the last student day of the school. That date has not been set because the number of snow days is not final.

On July 1, Regional School Unit 10 will officially take over governance of SAD 43, SAD 21 in Dixfield, SAD 39 in Buckfield.

Whether the SAD 43 board will continue to meet twice a month until June 15 is not yet known. Hodgkin said the number of agenda items is becoming fewer.

However, the board will meet Monday, March 23, to work on a proposed budget. The final number will be determined by the new school board, then combined with the budgets of SAD 39 and SAD 21, before being voted on by residents of all 12 towns in June.

Hodgkin said declining student enrollment may call for the elimination of staff and possibly, a reduction of programs.

He said that the nearly $200,000 restored to the current operating year’s budget could be used for capital improvements to buildings.

The district instituted a spending freeze when it learned last fall that the full amount of educational aid would not be provided by the state. With the passage of the federal stimulus plan, that money was restored.

Suggested uses include improvements to the bleachers at Mountain Valley High School, replacement of several air exchangers, and new windows for some buildings.

The board will decide how that money will be spent at its April 6 meeting.

In other matters, Scott Drown, principal of Meroby Elementary School for the past 11 years, submitted his resignation effective at the end of June.

Hodgkin said he plans to meet with Meroby staff next week to get their opinions on a possible restructuring of the district’s two elementary schools, among other things. If Meroby and Rumford elementary schools restructure grade levels, such as housing kindergarten and first grade pupils in one school and grades two through five in the other, the decision will be made by the new school board.

Also on Monday, the board set May 1 to honor two longtime staff members who are retiring: Pat Dyke, an educational technician at Rumford Elementary School, and Philip Merrill, the industrial arts/drafting technology teacher.

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