LIVERMORE — The town Education Committee stopped pursuing withdrawal from RSU 73 because it would eventually cost more than the current assessment, Administrative Assistant Kurt Schaub said Tuesday.

Schaub said the town’s share of district debt, startup costs for a town school department, legal fees, transportation and hiring a superintendent, plus annual expenses convinced the committee not to go any further.

The Board of Selectpersons voted in September 2013 to get financial information on withdrawing from RSU 73.

The committee’s report was accepted by selectpersons, and the town notified RSU 73 it is no longer pursuing withdrawal.

The committee was comprised of Selectperson Rodney Newman, retired teacher Warren Forbes, chairman, and RSU 73 Director Cindy Young. They met in January and February.

The committee concluded that leaving RSU 73 and paying for Livermore students to attend neighboring school districts would:

* Trigger nearly $900,000 in separation expenses for debt alone;

* Require a substantial expense upfront and ongoing cost to transport students; and

* Raise taxes in following years, because tuition and operating costs are likely to exceed RSU 73 assessments.

Livermore and Livermore Falls comprised RSU 36/SAD 36 before consolidating with the Jay School Department in July 2011 to create RSU 73.

RSU 73 Superintendent Robert Wall had sent the town information last year on Livermore’s costs to withdraw. The town would be responsible for $859,181.28 of the district’s debt, an estimated $13,000 for a part-time superintendent and an estimated $2.1 million in tuition for 179 elementary and 95 high school students.

That did not include costs for special education, buses, fuel, repairs/maintenance, payroll/clerical, drivers and legal fees pertaining to withdrawal.

The town’s current school commitment is $1.8 million.

The Livermore Elementary School is owned by RSU 73, according to the education panel’s report. The committee concluded that the town would have to pay for students to attend area schools.

If they went to RSU 9, based in Farmington, it would cost $1.9 million, not including special education costs, busing, a superintendent and other expenses, according to the committee report. Sending them to RSU 52, based in Turner, would cost $2.1 million. That did not factor in any expenses not included in tuition.

Committee members reviewed a 10-year history of Livermore school assessments, which ranged from $1.5 million in 2004 to $1.8 million in $2014, according to the report.

The committee also discussed the current cost-sharing arrangement among RSU 73 towns. Nearly 75 percent of the amount not covered by state aid for education and other revenue is paid by Jay, the report said. The town has the highest valuation among the three due to the Verso Paper Corp. paper mill.

Nearly 14 percent is paid by Livermore and about 11.47 percent is paid by Livermore Falls.

The committee concluded that any shift away from valuation and toward other factors, such as enrollment, would only benefit Jay, the report said.

“The district is required to periodically review the cost-sharing formula, which is appropriate given that the property values of major taxpayers can fluctuate with economic conditions,” according to the document.

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