ANDOVER — Andover got more than enough votes at Wednesday’s polls to leave SAD 44.

Town Clerk Melinda Averill said late Wednesday night that they needed 267 votes for the two-thirds majority required for passage. The tally was 298 to 103.

It ends a multi-year process to retain local control of Andover Elementary School and its students.

Andover residents also approved expanding their School Committee from three members to five, Averill said. She didn’t have the tally.

The next step is for selectmen to call for an election process to fill the five School Board seats on Election Day in November. Selectmen likely will take that up at their next regular meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 in the Town Office, Averill said.

People who want to run in the shortened election process for the seats must take out nomination papers.


Averill said that three people had already taken out papers, anticipating withdrawal approval on Wednesday.

“But we still have to advertise it to get other people,” she said.

SAD 44 is now comprised of Bethel, Greenwood, Newry and Woodstock.

Newry residents voted Wednesday to continue their withdrawal effort by allowing the town’s Withdrawal Committee to appropriate $50,000 from Newry’s surplus account to investigate withdrawal options.

Declining student enrollment and the extra expense to maintain the nearly 100-year-old school prompted Andover to start the withdrawal process in 2011 after the SAD 44 board voted to close Andover Elementary School. There are about 35 students from kindergarten to grade five who attend the school.

In 2011-12, Andover residents raised $214,000 to keep the school open. In 2012, they voted to raise an additional $68,000 to keep the school open for the 2012-13 school year.


They later petitioned to form a Withdrawal Committee and begin the process of withdrawing from SAD 44.

In January, residents went to the polls to vote on a withdrawal agreement, but the effort fell eight votes short of the two-thirds majority required for passage.

There were few differences in the withdrawal agreement that went before voters on Wednesday and the one they voted on in January, part-time resident and pro bono legal adviser Steve Hudspeth said.

“One of the major changes is the amount of money we have to pay SAD 44 to get out of our obligations,” Hudspeth said. “We reduced the number from $137,000 to $122,000. Other than that, it’s just minor cosmetic changes.”

Town Clerk Averill said Wednesday afternoon that she anticipated a large turnout. Of Andover’s 664 registered voters, 202 had cast their ballots by 4 p.m. And there also were 55 absentee ballots to count after the polls closed.

Averill said there were more absentee ballots than they had at the January polls.

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