JAY — A small sub-committee was appointed Tuesday by the Regional Planning Committee for consolidating Jay and RSU 36 schools to negotiate deeding the Jay school property over to the proposed RSU unit.

While the town of Jay proposed a quitclaim deed and easement agreement for transferring the property owned by the town and used for school purposes, legal counsel suggested forming a sub-committee to negotiate easements and shared use of the property. The town has storage and maintains voting in the Jay Community Building.

Town Manager Ruth Cushman, an RPC member, didn’t anticipate any problems negotiating an agreement and agreed to serve on a small committee with one Jay selectman, Jay Superintendent Robert Wall and RSU 36 Superintendent Susan Pratt. The committee will be aided by Richard Spencer, an attorney from Drummond Woodsum.

After listening to the recommendations of the facilities and maintenance plan committee Tuesday, the RPC chose to postpone voting on recommendations for the draft consolidation plan until the Jay property negotiation is completed.

The facilities committee reviewed properties owned by the two school systems and recommended all real estate and personal property owned by the two becomes the property of the new RSU, reported committee member Scott Albert.

They also recommend reconfiguring grades and programs including housing pre-kindergarten to grade 5 at Livermore Elementary School, and K through 5 at Jay Elementary School, moving Jay pre-kindergarten and Head Start to Cedar Street Learning Center, putting grades six to eight in to the Jay Middle School, grades nine to 12 at Jay High School and adult education at the Jay Community Building.

The committee advised closing Livermore Falls Middle School with students going to Jay Middle School but waiting until 2011-12 to close Livermore Falls High School. They suggest giving the middle school back to the town and tearing down the academic wing of LFHS but keeping the gym, cafeteria and locker area open for the new RSU use, Albert said.

Both the middle and high school should be renamed and all playing and practice fields kept open, according to their recommendations.

Waiting till the second year to close LFHS lets the high school participate in two years of a three year professional development grant.

The federal grant rules apply only to Livermore Falls High School, not for the RSU, Superintendent Pratt said. The anticipated gained knowledge during those two years can then be spread throughout the system.

The RPC also heard and accepted the transportation committee’s recommendations that included eliminating four of the 28 buses owned between the two school systems. There are 19 routes that may change when the schools combine and computer software is used to determine routes. That leaves 11 spare buses, four of which could be eliminated, reported Susan Weston.

The committee also recommended using the current Jay bus garage and purchasing needed equipment for repairs with mechanics, one full-time, one part-time, hired to work for the school.

Between the two schools, mechanic fees are now $123,800. Employing a full-time and part-time mechanic at $89,180 results in a $34,620 savings that could be used over a six-year period for new equipment, she said. An initial investment of approximately $200,000 would be needed to equip the garage.

The committee also recommends one supervisor and one assistant instead of the current two supervisors and one assistant working for transportation, maintenance and facilities.

The recommendations will be written into a draft plan but while the pieces are coming together, it’s still a work in progress, Pratt said.

Final reports from subcommittees are scheduled for Sept. 7.

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