POLAND — Regional School Unit 16 directors voted Monday to move forward with updating the heating and ventilation systems in all three elementary schools simultaneously in 2025 at an estimated cost of $10.2 million.

The cost mirrors the amount Superintendent Todd Sanders presented earlier of about $7.4 million plus interest if the district chooses to go with a 20-year bond.

The breakdown is: Minot Consolidated School at $2.4 million, Mechanic Falls Elm Street School at $2.7 million and Poland Community School at $2.2 million.

Sanders told directors that if a bond is taken out it would mean an annual payment of between $400,000 and $600,000 during the life of the loan after the first year’s payment of $121,059.

At the same time, the school district’s Operations Subcommittee will look at alternative means of funding the HVAC projects, including lease/purchase agreements and the Department of Agriculture’s USDA Community Grant program.

The district had hopes of obtaining partial funding for the HVAC upgrades through the Maine Department of Education’s School Revolving Renovation fund, but none of the district’s seven applications were approved.


The district was awarded $110,000 by the fund for an Americans with Disabilities Act project for the Minot school, of which $41,890 has to be paid back in five years.

The directors were also informed that the district’s state subsidy for next fiscal year will be cut by $751,000.

Sanders said the reduction is due to:

• Property valuations rose in the three towns, which according to the state’s formula means the towns can pay more.

• The number of disadvantaged students has dropped.

• Two-year average enrollment has dropped by 18 students.

Sanders said that in the 2019-20 school year 63 students in the district were being home-schooled. Currently 147 students are home-schooled.

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