NEWRY — The Newry Withdrawal Committee introduced former SAD 17 Superintendent Mark Eastman as its educational consultant Thursday evening at the Town Office.

Eastman said he was superintendent of the Oxford Hills School District in Paris for 15 years and worked in a smaller school district in northern Maine for 10 years.

“Since retirement, I’ve been working with school districts of all sizes, from 100 people to 4,000 people, to solve problems and deal with issues related to withdrawal,” he said. “Most recently, I worked with the town of Eustis. I helped them withdraw without losing their K-8 school.”

Eastman said he also wrote withdrawal plans for the town of Baldwin, and worked with Carrabassett Valley to help it withdraw from Regional School Unit 48.

“They have high property valuation and not a lot of students, just like you,” Eastman said. “Looking at their situation, there are a lot of things that compare favorably. They were interested in looking for different options for their town as well.

“I’m delighted to be here,” Eastman said. “I enjoy working with municipalities, and I enjoy working with small units.”

During the citizen response time, Newry fire Chief Bruce Pierce said he would like to see other committees formed to discuss other issues related to withdrawing from SAD 44.

“I know the Withdrawal Committee can only focus on withdrawal issues, but I was hoping that other committees could meet to discuss things like reformulation or better representation,” Pierce said. “Maybe it could help stir the people up to start looking at some actions to help improve our school district.”

Sysko said the committee is charged with “creating a plan that will be an improvement for our kids,” and that “it’s up to the Newry voters to approve that plan.

“I’m hoping that our consultant can help us come up with the best plan for our kids, and not just to save us money,” Sysko said. “Money is the secondary issue here, at least in my mind.”

After introducing Eastman to the public, the committee went into executive session for strategy discussion and to brainstorm where to begin.

Committee lawyer Dan Stockford said that by going into executive session to brainstorm and discuss their strategy, he would have “a clear idea of where you want to go with your first draft.”

Sysko said no action would be taken after the closed-door session.

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