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Citizens get final say on RSU withdrawal
DIXFIELD- On Tuesday, June 11, citizens will be asked to vote to withdraw the petition for withdrawal from RSU 10, to terminate the current withdrawal committee and approve of the agreement between RSU 10 and the town.
The agreement, dated April 8, 2013, and signed by the four members of the withdrawal committee and the RSU 10 Board of Directors Chair, Jerry Wiley, states:
1. RSU 10 board will develop and maintain a 10-year secondary long-term capital plan for Dirigo High School and inclusive of all other RSU 10 schools by region. The plan will be periodically updated.
2. RSU 10 Board will develop and maintain a secondary educational plan that feeds elementary schools to middle school to DHS and inclusive of all other RSU 10 schools by region. The plan will periodically be updated.
3. RSU 10’s secondary long-term capital and educational plans will address all three regions of RSU 10.
4. The secondary long-term capital plan will include scheduled maintenance and repair of DHS and all other schools in RSU 10; bond issues shall be subject to referendum approval in accordance with applicable law; budgeted capital items shall be subject to budget approval in accordance with applicable law.
5. The secondary educational plan will include educational and co-curricular program opportunities, staffing ratios, and transportation services for secondary students that ar substantially equivalent to those provide for other RSU 10 secondary students. RSU 10 shall be permitted to consolidate education and services, including use of shared teachers/administrators: technology for remote learning opportunities and other joint or shared instruction; and join co-curricular programs.
6. RSU board agrees to keep DHS, Buckfield Junior/Senior High School, and Mountain Valley High School open. This agreement may only be reassessed in the following circumstances:
a. A minimum student enrollment level, grades 9-12, of 200, is not maintained at a school.
b. The State Board of Education approves a replacement school with debt service qualifying for purposes of state subsidy (any replacement school shall be subject to approval of RSU 10 voters).
c. The RSU 10 board determines that the school has been substantially destroyed by fire or other hazard, or is otherwise determined to be substantially unusable for health or safety reasons, and replacement of the school is determined to be not economically practical.
d. There is a substantial change in state funding or education that results in a decline in annual state subsidy to RSU 10 by more than 25 percent.
e. Reorganization of (including municipal withdrawal from) RSU 10 that results in a decrease in the RSU’ s student total enrollment by more than 25 percent.
7. In the event of 6(a) above, RSU 10 board will make reasonable efforts to consolidate middle school and high school to keep DHS and/or MVHS open.
8. This agreement is contingent upon a majority referendum vote in the Town of Dixfield to approve this agreement and to rescind the town’s prior vote to petition to establish and fund a withdrawal committee; and is contingent upon discontinuance of the existing Dixfield withdrawal committee.
9. Except for a school closure that is initiated for the reasons provided in section 6(b) or 6(c) above, in the event RSU 10 proposes to close DHS, MVSH, or BJSHS for lack of need, RSU 10 board shall give at least one year advance notice to the affected towns before initiating a school closing by filing the cost determination application with the Department of Education under Rule 26 of the State Board of Education Rules, as amended.
10. A school closing of any RSU 10 school for lack of need is subject to local referendum approval, conducted only in those RSU 10 towns that send all of their regular education students to that school (“all” meaning all regular education resident students enrolled in the applicable grades served by that school), in accordance with Title 20-A, section 1512(6), of the Maine Revised Statutes.
11. This agreement shall terminate if the town of Dixfield votes to withdraw from RSU 10.
Also, at the referendum vote, citizens will also be asked to elect two selectmen for three year terms each. Citizens taking out papers are current Chairman of the Board, Malcolm Gill, Selectman Norine Clarke, Dana Whittemore, Norm Mitchell and Sandy Hebert.
Citizens will also be voting for an RSU 10 school board member to fill the three-year term which will expire in June 2016.
And, lastly, voters will be asked to approve the selectmen to “prepare an ordinance for consideration at a later town meeting, which would govern the method of voting on budgetary items by requiring all budgetary items to be presented to the voters on a referendum ballot rather than than at an open town meeting.”
The referendum vote will take place on Tuesday, June 11, at the Swasey-Torrey Legion, from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.
The annual town meeting is tomorrow, Thursday, May 23, at the Dirigo High School community room and will begin at 6 p.m.