LIVERMORE FALLS — Regional School Unit 73 directors voted 8-3 Thursday to add $3,002 back into the proposed $19 million budget for accreditation dues for the high schools.

The board did not reverse its decision of Feb. 9 to let accreditation lapse but plans to review reports and the process prior to making a decision.

Jay Directors Mary Redmond-Luce, Darcie Comstock and Vicki McLeod opposed the vote.

Money for accreditation had been previously deleted from the budget.

Some say accreditation is an outside source confirming the school is doing what it said it was doing and if there are deficiencies the school needs to improve them. Others say students will not be eligible for certain scholarships for out-of-state colleges without coming from an accredited school.

Still others say they don’t know of any students who have been denied entry to colleges because a school wasn’t accredited. Some say the process is a lot of work and the district is just paying dues to the agency for them to make money.

During a year that a school is going through reaccreditation, it was said it could cost $40,000 or so.

The high school campuses in Jay and Livermore Falls are accredited by the New England Association for Schools and Colleges.

Board Vice Chairwoman Mary Redmond-Luce said prior to the vote Thursday that $3,000 is certainly not going to break the bank. She encouraged board members to read reports on the accreditation to determine if it is something the district should continue to do.

There are schools that are not accredited, she said, including Mt. Blue High School in Farmington, and students are not denied entry into colleges.

The $3,000 is not going to save a position but at some point it might, Redmond-Luce said.

Chairwoman Denise Rodzen of Livermore Falls said she understood Redmond-Luce’s position. She said she had information that if a student from an unaccredited high school applied to an out-of-state college some would not qualify for a scholarship. She said students wouldn’t be eligible for a scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology if the school they graduated from is not accredited.

Rodzen said she didn’t want to see students denied a scholarship to go to that type of school because of accreditation.

She suggested the dues be kept in the budget and the board could make a decision on accreditation at a future meeting. It would give members time to read accreditation reports on both high schools and other schools.

“I think we ought to listen to the frontline people,” Director Tim Madden of Livermore said. “They are the ones that are really involved and who have probably seen the importance of it.”

“It sounds sexy. We are accredited,” Redmond-Luce said, but if you read the reports it doesn’t say much and lacks details.

“I don’t think it’s sexy,” Director Diane Gould of Livermore said. “I think it is an honor. It holds a school accountable. I don’t want to put sexy with accreditation.”

Redmond-Luce said she meant that it sounds very good to be accredited.

She suggested that an ad hoc committee be formed that would include board members, teachers and administrators to review the process and then make a recommendation to the board.

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