BYRON — The Board of Selectmen, RSU 10 Superintendent Craig King and RSU 10 Business Manager Mary Dailey met Monday night to discuss the costs of educating Byron students and the process of withdrawing from the district.

“The meeting was very informative,” Selectman Anne Simmons-Edmunds said.

King said he and Dailey provided the board with how the state funding formula works, graphics on student population, and other information the town may need to go forward with its work.

Simmons-Edmunds said Selectmen Richard Allen Jr. and Chris Edmunds will serve on the committee, along with a third person yet to be chosen.

At issue is the cost to send Byron’s students to schools in RSU 10.

The funding formula that uses property valuation and student population results in Byron paying more for each child than the other 11 towns in the district.

That number is more than $10,000 for each child in Byron, compared with $8,000 or so for most other RSU 10 students.

“I sympathize with them,” King said. “They pay a very high rate.”

The other district towns are Canton, Carthage, Dixfield, Peru, Buckfield, Hartford, Sumner, Mexico, Roxbury, Rumford and Hanover.

Residents at the past annual town meeting voted to begin withdrawal procedures and agreed to spend up to $25,000 for legal and other associated costs. That money will come from the town’s legal account.

Simmons-Edmunds said the town would pay about $150,000 to send its students to the district if it withdraws. The town pays $284,700 to RSU 10 now, she said.

According to state and district records, Byron sends 24 students to RSU 10 schools. Simmons-Edmunds said that figure is actually 18 because several are home-schooled or attend Holy Savior Catholic School in Rumford.

She also said the state’s student population numbers are two years old, which causes the town to pay for more students than it actually sends to RSU 10 schools.

Although it is possible that another vote on whether to withdraw could come at the March 2014 town meeting, Simmons-Edmunds said that is not likely, because of the legal procedure and the required development of an educational plan for Byron students.

Any town that withdraws from a district must also pay for special needs students who may move into the town.

Simmons-Edmunds said the town will have to gamble on that aspect. She said the state would pay 80 percent of the cost.


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