ANDOVER — A public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, at the Town Hall to discuss the withdrawal agreement between SAD 44 and the town, Andover Withdrawal Committee Chairwoman Paula Lee said.

The hearing will take place before the selectmen meeting and give residents the opportunity to ask questions about the agreement approved this year by SAD 44 directors.

The vote on withdrawal is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 24, at the Town Office. The polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

It’s the second vote this year on withdrawal from the five-town district. In January, the effort fell eight votes short of the two-thirds majority required for passage.

Lee said another informational meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13.

“The Sept. 9 public hearing is for the municipality,” Lee said. “However, it’s being held right before the selectmen meeting. So, in case people don’t have the chance to say what they want to say, they can show up for the informational meeting on Sept. 13 to continue asking questions.”


Lee said the second question on the Sept. 24 referendum ballot is whether the town should switch from a three-person school board to a five-person school board, but only if the town approves withdrawing from the district.

“People will vote yes or no on that question, but it won’t go into effect if they vote not to withdraw from the district,” Lee said.

Andover joined SAD 44 in the late 1960s, along with Bethel, Newry, Greenwood and Woodstock.

In 2011, the SAD 44 board voted to close Andover Elementary School, citing the extra expense to maintain the nearly 100-year-old building and declining student enrollment. There are about 35 students in kindergarten to grade five who attend the school.

Since 2011, Andover has paid the district a total of $422,000 — $214,000 for 2011-12, $68,000 for 2012-13 and $140,000 for 2013-14 — to keep the school open. That amount is on top of its approximately $450,000 annual assessment.

The amount to be paid for 2014-15 is $180,000.

Selectman Susan Merrow said earlier this year that rural towns die when they don’t have local schools, home values drop 25 percent, and there’s no new economic development. Towns that control their own schools, she said, control their own costs and can grow their economies.


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