OXFORD — SAD 17 officials say they will continue to do business as a School Administrative District rather than change the name to Regional School Unit 17.

The name issue surfaced in recent months as school districts reorganized and merged under the 2007 school consolidation law. Although SAD 17 was not required to merge with other school districts, it was legally reformulated into a Regional School Unit and a certificate of reorganization was filed with the Secretary of State on June 19.

“We’ll call them RSU 17 for legal purposes, but they can call themselves whatever they like,” said David Connerty-Marin, director of communications for the Department of Education.

With school buses that state SAD 17, as well as signs, letterheads and other items already labeled as such, school districts such as SAD 17, that have or have not reorganized into RSUs, can still do business under any name they wish, he said.

Connerty-Marin said a number of former SADs are retaining the name, while others are calling themselves RSUs.

“Any district can have any name they like,” he said. “Their legal title is going to be RSU 17.”
SAD 17 Assistant Superintendent Rick Colpitts said Thursday the district has no plans to change its name and will stay as SAD 17.

“That’s exactly what we intend to do,” he said.

Colpitts said there was some confusion when correspondence from the Department of Education began to refer to SAD 17 as RSU 17. But because the DOE also put SAD 17 in parentheses next to RSU 17, local officials retained the old designation.

“We’ve just assumed nothing has changed,” he said. Colpitts recently packed up his office at the former SAD 39 administration building, where he served as superintendent before the district merged into an RSU this past year.

There are 26 reorganized school districts in operation since July 1, according to information from the state DOE. That number includes almost 30 percent of the students in the state, who previously were educated in 98 separate units.

Another 42 school systems, including SAD 17, met the requirement of the law and were not mandated to merge either because of size or geographic isolation.

Another 127 school systems are still working to conform with the new law under a one-year penalty delay allowed by the commissioner.

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