LIVERMORE FALLS — School directors voted 9-2 Thursday to approve the recommended community survey questionnaire pertaining to the future of the school system and possible consolidation with another district.

Some members of the Board of Directors of Regional School Unit 36, which serves Livermore and Livermore Falls, have been working on an ad-hoc committee in collaboration with representatives from Jay and Fayette to develop the survey.

Jay has already received more than 320 community surveys back. Fayette is expected to vote on the survey soon.

A return, addressed envelope with a stamp on it will accompany the survey, and Director Denise Rodzen, a member of the collaboration committee, said she has stamped more than 2,300.

Director Rod Newman and board Chairman Ashley O’Brien opposed the survey and distributing it. Neither were in favor of consolidating with Jay the first time around. Director Katie Castonguay abstained.

Voters in Livermore, Livermore Falls and Jay all rejected consolidating with each other earlier this year. Fayette residents also rejected a plan to join Readfield, Winthrop and other towns in a joint system.

Each town was to pay a state penalty for failure to consolidate, but the state gave a one-year reprieve to see if noncompliant districts could come into compliance with the new law.

The survey asks if the respondent would recommend putting together a plan that would lead to a revote with one or more area school systems.

Another question asks if Livermore and Livermore Falls residents want to partner with Fayette, Turner area schools, Farmington area schools, Winthrop, Jay or other school systems.

Newman said he objected to questions on the survey.

“I find the questions very leading,” Newman said. He specifically mentioned No. 5 which asks “Would you support keeping Livermore Falls High School open regardless of cost?”

“I can’t approve a questionnaire with leading questions,” he said.

Rodzen said the survey was sent out to directors prior to the meeting to receive feedback to iron out kinks. She said the survey was sent with sufficient time before the meeting and she would have appreciated if he had gotten back to her prior to the meeting.

The whole idea of questions, Rodzen said, came from the town managers of each town.

Newman said he considered the words “regardless of cost” a roadblock that would prompt the survey taker to say no to keeping the school open. He suggested taking those words out.

Director Jennifer Pooler, also on the collaboration committee, said then they would never know how the community felt. You have to almost prompt people to give an answer, she said.

“It really doesn’t matter how you word these questions. They are going to lead different things to different people,” board Vice Chairman Mac Haynes said, also a member of the committee.

“We did as good a job on this survey as we thought possible,” he said.

Ideas for rewording the question were tossed around before the wording was left as is and the vote taken.

Students at the Progressive Learning Center, an alternate education program, plan to help put the survey in the envelopes to send out as part of their community service, Rodzen said.

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