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Peru signs on to Save Dirigo
PERU- In the wake of Dixfield’s initiative to start the process of withdrawing from RSU 10, Peru citizen and former selectman, Danny Wing, announced at last week’s selectmen’s meeting that he is in the process of collecting signatures from locals who believe their town should follow suit with Dixfield.
“I’m looking down the road,” noted Wing. “If that mill closes and Rumford taxes go up, then that burden is going to be spread throughout the towns of the RSU. I just want to keep what we got and I don’t think I’m alone. In fact, I know I’m not alone. I have a lot of signatures so far.”
Wing, along with Jon Holmes, and many others in Dixfield and Peru, feel strongly that the students of their towns will lose their identity if the school board decides to merge in the years to come.
“We have a good school system in what was Dirigo/SAD 21,” noted Wing. “The kids will have more influence if we go back to the way things were.”
Wing needed to get the petition in to the selectmen for approval by September 15 in order for it to be considered for the November ballot.
“I’m in no rush,” noted Wing. “I’m working on getting signatures and information. There are a lot of questions out there and we need to start getting some answers.”
Wing is going home-to-home in search of signatures in favor of the withdrawal, but noted, “It would be really helpful if someone has a Save Dirigo sign, if they could put it out so I have a better idea of who is with us.”
The procedure to withdraw from the RSU is a 22-step process, with the first step being that of a vote by the town to move forward or not. The earliest Peru citizens would be able to vote is the annual meeting in June of 2013.
Dixfield citizens are requesting $50,000 from their town on November 6 in order to move forward with the next steps to a withdrawal study. Holmes noted, “I wish Carthage and Canton would get on board, otherwise, this is just not going to be worth it. I don’t want a nasty divorce situation. I have nothing against Rumford. If I were up there, I would put a Save Mountain Valley sign on my lawn. I just hate losing local control.”
Holmes noted that he has done some research on the cost per student in the RSU and stated, “You can’t tell me that they’re saving money when the cost to educate a student was $200-$300 below state average before the RSU was formed and now it’s costing $700-$800 above the state average. That just doesn’t make sense.”
Another town going through the withdrawal process is Andover, who currently has the support of their citizens to withdraw from SAD 44 in Bethel, and is waiting to hear from the Commissioner of Education in order for their negotiations committee to be appointed.