BETHEL — The SAD 44 board voted unanimously Monday night to accept a withdrawal agreement with the town of Andover.

Superintendent David Murphy said the district’s negotiating team and the Andover Withdrawal Committee have worked many months to come to an agreement on property and other issues. Part of the agreement calls for Andover to pay its share of district debt, which is $148,000.

The signed agreement will now go to the Department of Education commissioner for review. The commissioner has 60 days to determine whether the educational plan is complete.

Once approved by the commissioner, a public hearing will be set.

Bill Stockmeyer of Drummond Woodsum law firm represented the district at the meeting. Several members of the Andover Withdrawal Committee were also in attendance.

The move to secede from the district came about two years ago when the board voted to close the small school to save money. The school educates 30-plus students in grades kindergarten to five.

Withdrawal Committee Chairwoman Susan Merrow said maintaining a school in Andover is crucial to retaining the town’s vitality.

The town has paid funds over and above its district assessment for a couple of years to keep the school open.

Other towns in the district are Bethel, Greenwood, Newry and Woodstock.

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