NEWRY — In a letter to Newry selectmen last week, Sunday River Resort President/ General Manager Dana Bullen expressed concern about the possible effect on the greater community if Newry should withdraw from School Administrative District 44.

With the existing cost-sharing format among district towns based entirely on property valuations, Sunday River, as well as the many condominiums associated with the resort, contribute in a large part to the $2.8 million Newry is currently paying SAD 44.

If Newry withdrew and tuitioned its two dozen students back to the district, or the other district towns agreed to change the cost-sharing arrangement to shift more of the financial burden to them, Newry taxpayers would see their bills go down.

But Bullen asked the town to look at the bigger picture.

“Part of Sunday River’s mission is to promote and build its surrounding community by providing jobs, bringing visitors to the area and supporting local causes,” he said in a letter dated Nov. 20, sent to the town and the Bethel Citizen after the selectboard’s meeting last week. “With that in mind, we feel compelled to reach out to you on behalf of our team members, neighbors and guests regarding Newry’s ongoing relationship with SAD 44.

“Withdrawing from SAD 44 will negatively impact our community, now and in the future. We appeal to you to think about this issue very clearly moving forward.

“A healthy school system is crucial to the overall well-being of our community, including Sunday River’s greatest strength — its team members. Looking at the big picture, we need to examine the long-term role education plays in our lives for ourselves and for our neighbors, and we need to look into ways we can solve some of the school system’s challenges as an engaged and committed group. The benefits of a strong and thriving community far outweigh any savings people in Newry may acquire, whether we’re talking about year-round residents or those who pay taxes on second homes.

“When the Withdrawal Committee releases its recommendations, we ask that everyone consider the negative impact of withdrawing from SAD 44 against the long-term benefits of remaining part of the school system.”

The board meets again on Dec. 8.


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