ANDOVER — A public hearing on a proposal to begin steps to withdraw from SAD 44 will be held 10 a.m. Saturday, March 8, at the Town Hall.

Those who are not able to attend Saturday’s hearing are invited to attend the On Our Own Committee meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, at the Town Hall.

It’s the second time the town has considered leaving the district, which also includes Bethel, Greenwood, Newry and Woodstock. The first effort fell six votes short of the required two-thirds majority in January.

A vote on whether to start the process again will be held at the annual town meeting Tuesday, March 18. A majority vote is required for passage.

The withdrawal effort began after the district voted to close Andover Elementary School in 2011 to save money. The school serves about 35 students in grades kindergarten to five.

The town has raised a total of $422,000 the past three fiscal years to keep the small nearly 100-year-old school open. That’s on top of its approximate $450,000 annual assessment.

Many residents, including those on the On Our Own Committee, want to keep elementary students in town, prevent long bus rides to other schools, and maintain a sense of community, which they say the school provides. Some also cited data that shows that having a school helps the town economically.

The SAD 44 board is expected to take up the Andover school issue in the next couple of months.


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