ANDOVER — An agreement between SAD 44 and the Andover Withdrawal Committee that outlined responsibilities for both entities is now in the hands of the SAD 44 subcommittee.

Paula Lee, chairwoman of the newly formed AWC, said little was changed since the January vote to withdraw from the district was very narrowly defeated. Those wishing to leave the district made up 64.5 percent of those that voted, just short of the two-thirds required by the state.

The only things the AWC changed were the date and the amount of debt the school owes because tiime passed.

The new AWC is comprised of Lee, who was an original member of the On Our Own Committee and the previous AWC, Sharon Hutchins, who represents the public, Tim Akers, a SAD 44 board member, and Jim Adler, an Andover selectman. The AWC’s previous chairwoman, former Selectman Susan Merrow, serves as secretary to the committee.

Lee said the decision to restart the withdrawal process is the result of the very close vote to withdraw in January.

“If it had been the other way around, we wouldn’t have gone forward,” she said.


The town also paid an additional $180,000 to the district, on top of the regular school tax assessment, to keep the school open through June 30, 2015.

A petition to restart the withdrawal process was signed by 145 residents soon after the January vote.

At issue is yearly concerns that the small school, which enrolls about 30 or so kindergarten through grade-five children, will be closed by the SAD 44 board. The town has provided additional funds along with its assessment for several years.

Lee said she has talked with people all over the state about the importance of having a school in town.

“The consensus has been that when a school closes, it’s the death of the town,” she said, adding that realtors tell her that questions about the school or schools within a town are among the first asked by potential home buyers.

She is hopeful that the withdrawal subcommittee of the SAD 44 board will agree with the newly submitted document.

Once both groups agree, the document will be sent to the commissioner of the Department of Education, who will then decide whether to accept it. He will also call public hearings.

Lee said a vote on withdrawal could come as early as the midddle of autumn.

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