DIXFIELD — The Dixfield Withdrawal Committee unanimously approved an agreement with RSU 10 Wednesday night that would stop the move to leave the school district.

“I’m pretty happy with how it came out,” committee and school board member Bruce Ross said.

The agreement, which was negotiated by attorneys Dan Stockford for the committee and Bill Stockmeyer for RSU 10, could serve as a model for any other town, he said.

It will go before the school board at 6:30 p.m. April 8 at the Hartford-Sumner Elementary School in Sumner.

Committee Chairman Bob Withrow, who is also a Dixfield selectman, said the agreement will also go before the Board of Selectmen to be formatted for a referendum on the June 11 ballot. The question will ask Dixfield voters for approval to end the withdrawal effort and disband the committee.

Withrow said the committee has yet to be billed by its lawyer, so he does not know how much of the $50,000 voters approved for legal and other costs has been used.

The committee was formed last year after RSU 10 Superintendent Tom Ward suggested combining Dirigo High School in Dixfield and Mountain Valley High School in Rumford to to save money.

Since then, the school board has developed a 10-year facilities plan that calls for maintaining those high schools, as well as Buckfield Junior-Senior High School. That could change if state subsidy or student enrollment drops by 25 or more percent, according to the agreement.

Ross said a recent study of the demographics of the area showed that student enrollment should remain stable, or increase slightly, in the near future.

However, committee member Jon Holmes said that prediction could change.

“If one business up the street closes, that would be a big difference,” he said, referring to the NewPage paper mill in Rumford.

Among the few residents who attended Wednesday night’s meeting were Judy and Charles Berg of Buckfield, who have been pursuing establishing a school withdrawal committee for their town.

RSU 10 is comprised of the Mountain Valley region towns of Rumford, Mexico, Roxbury and Byron; the Dirigo region towns of Dixfield, Carthage, Canton and Peru; the Nezinscot region towns of Buckfield, Hartford and Sumner; and the town of Hanover.


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