FAYETTE — Residents will decide whether Fayette Central School should withdraw from AOS 97 in a vote at Starling Hall from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 15.

At a public hearing Monday, proponents of the withdrawal effort pointed to the benefits of having Fayette Central School be independent once again. The school is currently part of AOS 97 with Winthrop.

“For many years, we controlled the destiny of students in our schools,” noted selectman Jon Beekman. “I’d like to see that come back to our taxpayers.”

Resident Joel Swimm, who served on the AOS Withdrawal Committee, said that the school originally became part of the AOS in 2011 to avoid paying a penalty for not complying with Maine’s school consolidation law. That penalty was $40,000 per year, and is no longer in effect due to the Maine Legislature voting to eliminate penalties for non-compliance.

Representatives of the Withdrawal Committee, which has met since last November, presented information pertaining to the benefits of the school being a standalone entity. In 1994, Fayette withdrew from SAD 36 and became an independent K-5 school system, tuitioning its middle and high school students out to other school districts.

Now that Fayette is part of the AOS, it pays 15 percent of the budget for system administration. That 15 percent number is based on the school’s student population.

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Fayette pays $57,752.85 out of the total AOS budget of $385,015. The number includes $18,515.85 for the superintendent (out of a total salary of $123,439); $7,581 for the Special Education Director (out of $50,542); and $31,655.10 for support staff and other costs (out of $211,034).

If voters approve withdrawal from the AOS, Fayette would pay a total of $66,164.63 for system administration. That number would include $14,850 for the superintendent, $7,581.30 for a special education director, and $43,733.33 for support staff and other costs.

There were questions from the audience about the figure for the part-time superintendent. Withdrawal Committee members explained that the position would entail 33 days of work per year at $450 per day and that it was based on what Fayette currently pays into the AOS. They further noted that a part-time superintendent based at the school would provide a focus on improving the school’s education, community connections, and culture.

“People were concerned about the leadership it took to run the school system,” said Withdrawal Committee member George Joseph. “Being a smaller part of the school system, the AOS, we perhaps weren’t getting the leadership it took to make it better.”

“What has evolved over the years is what kind of administrative structure do we want to run the school?” said Swimm. “What the school board decides to do is contingent on what you decide at the June town meeting.”

It was noted that the special education director’s position would be contracted, and that the superintendent would handle the transportation director’s duties.

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Alanna Stevenson, who has a child in pre-kindergarten, spoke of the Fayette Central School from a parent’s perspective.

“I think it’s really important for me as a parent to have continuity in leadership,” she said. “We are a very strong performing school. Our teachers serve our children very well.”

She added that the school is unique.

“We have kind of our own culture. We can do a lot of really amazing things.


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