BETHEL — The SAD 44 board voted overwhelmingly Monday to enter into a five-year lease with Norway Savings Bank for the use of 1,900 square feet for the district’s central offices.

“The price is really phenomenal,” Superintendent David Murphy said Wednesday.

At about $5,700, plus about $5,000 for utilities for the first year, the district will save between 55 and 60 percent from its current costs for use of the former Ethel Bisbee School. He said the district pays between $28,000 and $30,000 a year for use of the district building.

“This is a significant savings,” he said.

The lease agreement calls for $3 per square foot for year one, $3.25 for year two, $3.50 for year three, $3.75 for year four, and $4 for year five.

All utilities, except telephone, will be provided at $4,959 for each of the first two years. In addition, snowplowing, insurance and routine maintenance will be provided, and the bank will repaint and carpet the district’s new space.

To mothball the former Ethel Bisbee School, the district must pay about $1,500 annually. Also, the former school is the location for the town’s food pantry and district exchange. Operators of the exchange have been aware that a move might be possible and will search for a new site.

A decision on the building’s future will be made by the board at a later time.

Rental and utility costs for years two through five will rise slightly for the bank space, but never more than 10 percent.

Murphy said the new central office space includes several rooms that can incorporate a conference room. The central office will be situated on the second floor of the bank building which is located at the corner of the Parkway and Route 2.

“Five years from now, we could stay or move to a different building. It’s a difficult time right now,” Murphy said.

For the first time in two years, students have been expelled from a district school.

Murphy said two middle school students, following closed sessions, were expelled for possessing drugs on school grounds at an undisclosed date in December.

He declined to provide further details.

He said the district will work with the families on re-entry plans for the students. They may be required to undergo counseling, participate in community service, or some other option, Murphy said.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Murphy announced that new flashing yellow lights have been installed at both entrances of the Telstar Middle/High School complex on Route 26. The action is expected to provide greater safety.

Another safety measure, introduced by transportation director Ronnie Deegan, is also about to be put in place. All kindergarten through grade five students will be issued reflectors that can be attached to their backpacks or other personal item. This is so they are seen when waiting for their buses, which often takes place in the dark.

Costs for the reflectors will likely be picked up by the PTAs of the three elementary schools.

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