NEWRY — Selectmen decided Tuesday to table the Newry Withdrawal Committee’s request to ask taxpayers for $25,000 to continue the process of leaving School Administrative District 44, or terminate it.

Selectmen said they want to see what the Legislature does with a new bill, which further outlines the withdrawal process. The bill is signed by Rep. Fran Head, R-Bethel.

The board and the Withdrawal Committee believe the new bill will help them obtain a clear proposal for withdrawal terms to present to Newry residents and the SAD 44 board.

Another bill in the works, also signed by Head, would prevent Newry from being able to vote on withdrawal. If it passes, Town Administrator Amy Bernard said the Withdrawal Committee will most likely want to move forward with its request for $25,000, which would go toward legal and consultation fees.

The issue, Bernard said, will most likely be discussed at the annual town meeting March 6 at the Town Office, and possibly voted on at the May 8 meeting, if selectmen approve and residents are given 45 days notice of the ballot measure.

The withdrawal effort began over two years ago, prompted by the amount of money the town pays to educate its students. The cost-sharing formula is based 100 percent on property value, which has Newry paying about $3 million of the district’s $9 million budget.

Newry joined the district in 1965 when there were five towns, including Andover, Bethel, Greenwood and Woodstock. Since then, Andover has withdrawn to run its own school system.

In 2014, Newry residents voted 82-60 to also withdraw. Since then, a series of proposals and counterproposals have been offered, including changing the cost-sharing formula so Newry paid less and Bethel, Greenwood and Woodstock more.

The proposal to change the formula to 90 percent valuation and 10 percent student population for fiscal years 2017-18 and 2018-19, and and 85-15 split for 2019-20 was rejected by district voters Nov. 8, 2016.

Since then, Newry has continued with the withdrawal process, proposing to pay tuition to send its 25 students to SAD 44 and additional money as agreed upon with the district.

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