LIVERMORE FALLS — Regional School Unit 36 directors will hold a special meeting Wednesday, Feb. 2, to hear from the public before making a decision about closing the middle school.

“I really want people to have a chance to give us their opinion,” Vice Chairwoman Denise Rodzen of Livermore Falls said Wednesday.

Voters in Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls voted 1,302 to 419 Tuesday to consolidate the two school systems.

One of the recommendations of the Regional Planning Committee was to close the middle school and send RSU 36 students to Jay Middle School. That recommendation was not in the plan but is on the table.

Rodzen said that she has been through a school closing before, when the Primary Learning Center, the former Primary School on Church and Baldwin streets, closed several years ago.

“We need to know how they feel about this,” she said. They need to feel a part of this, she said.

Director Ann Souther of Livermore Falls said she, too, thinks the public needs to have a voice before the board makes a decision.

“It is an old building,” she said.

Superintendent Sue Pratt said the process to close the school will take at least 12 weeks and it needs to be completed by June 30, if the board chooses to go forward with closing.

The process officially starts when the board votes to close the school. Voters in Livermore and Livermore Falls have the final say on closing it.

The board will then need to make a decision on what is to be done with it. Among the options are demolishing it, demolishing the school but and leaving the gymnasium, or giving it back to Livermore Falls, Pratt said. Residents in that town would have the final say on whether they want to accept the building as town property.

Director Jackie Knight of Livermore Falls said the possibility of closing the school has been before voters for several months.

Chairman Ashley O’Brien said he never personally heard any criticism about closing the middle school. He did hear some criticism about closing the high school. That is a recommendation fore the second year of consolidation.

There hasn’t been a lot of conversation about closing the school, middle school Principal Robert Kahler said. He said students commented that they do see their counterparts in Jay in Area Youth Sports, an athletic organization that serves the three towns and Fayette from elementary school through middle school. He said staff would like to know if they are moving to Jay so they can make plans for the next school year.

Most comments have been about people being somewhat surprised by the spread of the vote, Kahler said.

The new school system would start July 1.

Souther asked that information on what needs to be done to the school and the cost prepared before the meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2, at the middle school cafeteria. Tours will start at 5 p.m.

“We want as much public comment as we can get,” he said. “We’d love to fill the building with as many people as possible.”

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