BETHEL — A public hearing to learn about a proposed agreement between the Andover Withdrawal Committee and SAD 44 has been set for 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, at the Andover Town Hall.

The SAD 44 board unanimously set the hearing at a special meeting Monday night, Superintendent David Murphy said in an email. The document was conditionally approved by the Maine Department of Education commissioner last month following more than two years of work by the Andover Withdrawal Committee and negotiations with SAD 44 for the agreement and for establishing a plan of education for Andover’s elementary-age children.

A final vote on whether the town should withdraw from SAD 44 will be scheduled for sometime in January, with the goal of the Andover Withdrawal Committee establishing a new district composed of the K-5 Andover Elementary School.

Steps to work toward a possible withdrawal from SAD 44 began more than two years ago when the SAD 44 board voted to close the small school. That vote was reversed when the town agreed to pay thousands of dollars more than the school tax to keep it open. Another suggestion by the board to close the school a year later prompted the town to again add more money to the town’s school-tax liability.

The Andover Withdrawal Committee has been meeting weekly for many months, often with paid consultants, to devise an educational program for the town’s elementary-school-age children.

Susan Merrow, an Andover selectman and chairwoman of the withdrawal committee, said in an email that the feedback gained at the Nov. 18 hearing would be forwarded to the Education Department, which will decide whether to recommend changes to the agreement or approve it as is.


The DOE will set January’s final voting date. Another public hearing will be held 10 days prior to that vote to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of leaving the district or remaining in it.

Merrow said the withdrawal committee was discussing whether the potential new school committee should have three or five members.

“As time goes by, citizens are discussing running for the school board, which is a great opportunity to shape a new district in the most cost-effective way while enhancing our children’s educational foundation,” she wrote.

Andover is one of the five original towns that formed SAD 44 more than 40 years ago. The other member towns are Bethel, Newry, Woodstock and Greenwood.

Andover Elementary School currently serves 30 to 35 pupils in kindergarten through fifth grade.

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