BUCKFIELD — A public hearing about the future of the town’s school system will be held at the Town Office Wednesday evening, prior to a regular meeting of the town’s RSU 10 Withdrawal Committee. 

The hearing will be held at 6 p.m. at the Town Office. The committee’s meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The aim of the hearing is to gather input from residents as to what they would like to see for their school system, Committee Chairman Glen Holmes said. 

“We’re excited to hear what citizens want their school system to look like as we move forward,” Holmes said.

The hearing comes shortly after selectmen accepted a citizens petition to allow voters to reconsider last year’s vote to withdrawal, agreeing to put the question on the June ballot.

If approved, the reconsideration measure will override the original vote, ending the withdrawal push. 

The Withdrawal Committee has thrown around a few options for the town’s schools, including tuitioning some or all of its students to neighboring school districts in the Turner or Norway-Paris areas or turning Buckfield Junior-Senior High School into a single K-12 school. 

While those alternatives may be discussed, Holmes said he wants the hearing to be open for a free-flow of ideas and opinions from the public.

“We really want to hear what the people have as ideas,” Holmes said. “Hopefully they’re going to talk about what they want to keep and what they are willing to see change.”

“Obviously, with the other towns not currently committed to doing this process, it limits our options,” he continued. 

Last June, voters approved a measure to pull Buckfield out of RSU 10, the 12-town school unit created in 2009 by consolidating school districts in the Rumford-Mexico, Dixfield and Buckfield areas. 

Withdrawal supporters said the costs were too high in the sprawling school district, while the quality of education had not improved.

At the time, there was a widespread belief that neighboring Sumner and Hartford would also join the withdrawal push, possibly opening the door to reform the pre-consolidation SAD 39. 

Those hopes were dashed in November, when Sumner voters rejected a withdrawal measure for their town. To date, no formal withdrawal movement has appeared in Hartford, and enthusiasm for pulling Buckfield out of RSU 10 appears to have waned.

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