KINGFIELD – The Select Board on Monday focused on the town’s financial obligations to Maine School Administrative District 58, with extensive discussions on potential cost reallocation within the district.

Members stressed the discussion was not about withdrawing from the district, which also includes Phillips, Avon and Strong.

“I put on the agenda that this discussion is not about withdrawing from the district because there has been discussion about how to make it equitable for all towns,” Selectman Kim Jordan clarified. She said there has been talk about the property revaluation going up due to vacation homes.

“If we can find out from the state if there is any plan to do anything about the impact on the town and residents, that would be helpful,” Jordan said. “Kingfield is not the only town to have this huge problem.”

Chairman Wade Browne emphasized the need for thorough research on the school district’s financial impact. “I’m not saying we should withdraw from the district, by any means, but we should look at this as a whole so the town can be well informed,” he said.

“What would be the benefit if we pulled out of the district, and what would the cost be for the other towns?” Browne asked. “We need to be informed by some sort of nonbiased research. Hundred dollars more in taxes is a lot for older folk. I don’t see it getting any better.”


“I have been at most of the budget meetings for MSAD 58, and your Kingfield school board representatives have been very concerned about this,” resident Annie Twitchell said, providing insight from her experience with school budget meetings. “I have heard a lot of concerns about the cost discrepancy between the cost per pupil for Kingfield versus other towns.”

“The funding formulas that are currently used are based on valuation so you can’t change what Strong pays, and Phillips pays, and what Avon pays because it is based off of a percentage of their valuation,” Twitchell said. “It is the same percentage for Strong, Phillips, Avon, and Kingfield; it’s just that the valuations are different, so the totals are very different. I have been hearing this conversation for probably the last 15 years.”

Twitchell said the Department of Education and state representatives and the state senator are the place to start to research if the way the formula is calculated could be changed.

Browne reiterated the need for more information, adding, “I don’t know how to get this started. But just signing that thing (budget) and pushing the money down the road is just kicking the can down the road.”

“But we are top heavy; we have schools that are not full,” Browne said. “We have people shipping their kids from Kingfield to Strong because that is the middle school, and that is how they chose to keep the school going.  I am not saying to close Strong or Phillips or any of them, just find out that information because there are just not as many kids, and parents want their kids to go to their alma mater. Who wouldn’t?”

Several residents agreed with the suggestion to bring up leaving the district to find out if someone at the state level has some ideas or thoughts.


“All of this takes a lot of time and meetings. Tonight we had a good discussion, it is a start,” Jordan aid.


Upcoming Elections

The annual town elections will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, May 31, at Webster Hall. Absentee ballots are available now through May 28, with requests possible by contacting the Town Office. Absentee ballots may also be requested May 29 and 30 under special circumstances.

Ashley Hopwood-Farrar is running unopposed for a three-year term on MSAD 58 board of directors.

Morgan Dunham, the incumbent, is running unopposed for a three-year term as selectman/assessor/overseer of the poor.

The open one-year Select Board seat is sought by Susan Davis and Christopher Rushton, who aim to complete the term vacated by Walter Kilbreth.

The annual town meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 1, at Kingfield Elementary School.

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