Media Archive

SAD 41 to discuss cost-sharing idea

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 166, No. 27, July 07, 2004

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

MILO Whether or not to investigate a change to the district's cost-sharing formula will be on the agenda for the SAD 41 board of directors meeting Wednesday night, July 7.

The town of Atkinson has requested that the cost-sharing formula, now based exclusively on property valuations, be revised to reflect student population.

Currently, Atkinson taxpayers shoulder 11.16 percent of the costs to run the district, although students from the town represent only 6.2 percent of the total student population.

By comparison, Brownville pays 26.14 percent of the costs to educate 21.9 percent of the population, Milo pays 45.94 percent to educate 54.88 percent of the population and LaGrange pays 16.76 percent to educate 17.02 percent of the population.

The SAD 41 board on Wednesday will vote either to pursue the legal process to investigate a possible change to the cost-sharing formula.

If supported. Superintendent David Walker would contact state Department of Education Commissioner Susan Gendron, who would in turn name a facilitator to oversee the process. A committee made up of two residents from each community and one member of the SAD 41 board representing each community would be established to investigate the cost-sharing formula and to issue a recommendation, which would be voted on next June at a district-wide meeting.

"It's a fairly lengthy process," Walker said.

The sole member of the SAD 41 board representing Atkinson, George Johnson, requested in May that the board look into the issue. Since then. Walker said he has visited with the selectmen and town managers in Milo, Brownville, LaGrange and Atkinson to discuss the "potential impact [of a change to the cost-sharing formula] on each community."

Also at Wednesday's meeting, the board of directors will consider whether to hire a company to perform a facilities assessment of Penquis Valley High School in Milo and Milo Elementary School in Milo. The assessment is required in order for the district to apply for revolving renovation funds from the state. Walker explained.

The superintendent said the cost of the assessment, about $7,000, would be paid for up front by the district, but would be reimbursed by the state if the district's application is approved. He said the district is applying for the funds to bring the high school and elementary schools up to meet state and federal mandates, such as in the areas of handicap accessibility and asbestos abatement. The two facilities are the oldest in the district the high school opened in 1968 and the elementary school in 1955. The meeting is set for 7 p.m. in the Penquis Valley High School library.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.