School Closure Information

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Timbered Classrooms strives to bring readers all of the information to which they are entitled; we firmly believe, that means “ALL of it”.  …an ambitious goal, to be sure, of which we, unfortunately fall short.  In pursuit of it, though, we offer the Maine Statute on the Procedure for Closing Schools.  

Last week, the State confirmed, that, as yet, no action had been taken, “even informally” on #3.  As for #2, a Board member is quoted as quipping, “It would be so much easier if we could just get a building condemned” over the horrified “SSSssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhh!’s” of her colleagues…..  We know all buildings are in dire need of attention and our readers have come forward with concerns that this avenue may currently be under consideration. (See comments under “The Hobbit Effect”)

The article (bottom of page) that would be put before voters would include an estimate of the cost to keep the school open.  The State must approve and guarantees the accuracy of this number, for what it is.  Increased transportation expense is the ONLY negative savings that would be calculated here; omitted are any of the other costs for renovations, adaptations taxpayer support and “Bureaucrats and Wardens”  that renders consolidation itself a “negative cost savings”.

The cost to children, families and communities outlined in the literature here and elsewhere are ignored completely.

Read the full statute §4102. Closing of a school building,   or keep scrolling….

§4102. Closing of a school building

The closing of a school building by a school administrative unit may only occur under the following conditions. [1983, c. 422, §17 (AMD).]

1. Replaced by new building.  The school building has been replaced by other school buildings as part of a school construction project that has been approved by the state board or the commissioner in accordance with chapter 609.
[ 1999, c. 206, §3 (AMD) .]
2. Condemned.  The school building has been condemned and ordered closed by local or state officials for health and safety reasons.
[ 1983, c. 422, §17 (AMD) .]
3. Lack of need.  The building has been deemed to be unnecessary or unprofitable to maintain by the governing body of the administrative unit. Before a building may be closed under this subsection, a report shall be filed with the commissioner. The report shall contain, at a minimum, the following:
A. Projection of the number of students in the affected area over the next 5 school years, including a projection of the educational programs which they will need; [1983, c. 422, §17 (NEW).]
B. Manner in which the continuation of the educational programs for the affected students will be provided; [1983, c. 422, §17 (NEW).]
C. Effective date on which the closing will take place; [1983, c. 422, §17 (NEW).]
D. Projection of additional transportation or other related services; [1983, c. 422, §17 (NEW).]
E. Existence of any other outstanding financial commitments, including debt service, related to the school building along with a retirement schedule of payments to meet the commitments; [1983, c. 422, §17 (NEW).]
F. Proposed disposition of the school building; [1983, c. 422, §17 (NEW).]
G. Financial impact of closing the school building; and [1983, c. 422, §17 (NEW).]
H. Statement of reasons why the school building is being closed. [1983, c. 422, §17 (NEW).]
[ 1983, c. 422, §17 (NEW) .]
4. Voter approval.  Before a school board may close a school building pursuant to subsection 3, voter approval shall be obtained as follows.
A. Elementary schools in school administrative districts, regional school units and community school districts may only be closed if approved by the voters in accordance with the procedures set out in section 1512 for regional school units. [2011, c. 171, §7(AMD).]
B. Secondary schools in school administrative districts, regional school units and community school districts may be closed only if approved by the voters in accordance with the procedures set out in section 1512 for regional school units.
[2011, c. 171, §7 (AMD).]
B-1. Elementary or secondary schools in school administrative units that are not school administrative districts, regional school units or community school districts may be closed without voter approval, unless the school board is presented with a written petition, within 30 days of the board’s decision to close the school, by 10% of the number of voters in the school administrative unit who voted at the last gubernatorial election, in which case a special referendum must be called pursuant to:
(1) Section 1351 for school administrative districts;
(2) Title 30-A, sections 2528 to 2532, for community school districts, except the school board shall issue a warrant specifying that the municipalities within the district place the petitioned article on the ballot, and shall prepare and furnish the required number of ballots for carrying out the election; and
(3) Title 21-A and Title 30-A, respectively, for cities and towns. [2011, c. 171, §7 (NEW).]
C. The article to be used shall be substantially in the following form:

“Article: Shall the school committee of ……………………………………………….. (name of town) (the board of directors of School Administrative District No. …….) be authorized to close ……………………………………………………. (name of school)?

Yes……………….. No………………..
The additional cost of keeping the school open has been estimated by the school committee (board of directors) to be $ ……… .” [1983, c. 422, §17 (NEW).]*
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26 responses to “School Closure Information

  1. how can this asshole do this.

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    • He was hired to do exactly this by Board members who admit publically to a willingness to “..throw our children under the bus because SACS is closer to Region II” .

      Fomenting anger in the community is often deliberate and strategic; colleges teach it to aspiring Superintendents for heaven’s sake!

      Though this Board has voted time and again to relinquish their power to Larry they cannot escape their responsibility.

      The buck stops with the Board, and they have admitted they favor a new school that will cost a fortune and not benefit your children.

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  2. By hiring people from the southern part of the state. These company’s are using what they no and get threw the red tape.
    They no what to do and what paper work to fill out, and the big one, they use new building regulations and apply them to older schools. By the time the officials find out—–its over. They pay the fine, and there on the way. Very easy, to pull this kind of stuff, when the people that are representing you down to the state house do not want to take the time to look in to it. Its like the task force, it did exactly what it was formed to do. GET PEOPLE EVOLVED AND BURN TIME WHILE HE MAKES ALL THE RIGHT CONTACTS. IT IS CALLED CHUCK AND JIVE. The oldest con in the books.
    Every body bought into it on all these meetings, they really thought they were going to make a difference. He learn this in lincoln. I did my research. When you think everybody is playing by the rules,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,YOU GET BURNED!!!!!!!!!!!

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    • I think Larry fooled more people on the Board than in the community.

      The Task Force was a scam. Great Schools Partnership is not neutral on school consolidation and was hired to steer the ship in that direction.

      I believe, though, that engaging is better than letting the Task Force control the narrative. Their hostility toward the research presented here is instructive, and exposes their claims of open-mindedness for what they are – hogwash.

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  3. Jerry i remember what you said out side the school at one of the meetings. Quote, if you go by the rule book, you will not win. i remember that just like it was yesterday. Your right again today.

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  4. Lisa is right when she reminds us that we can no longer make suggestions and share concerns, we now have to work together to fight it. They have been quiet and are pacifying us while Malone works behind the scenes getting things in place and making it look like we have no choice. We do have choices and we do have a say.

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    • I hear, frequently, from people I respect, “We cannot continue as we are”. How true.

      What they fail to question, is, how we got to this point of untenable conditions? Were they really unavoidable? …or the culmination of choices made by people who WANT Katahdin to fail so that the spoils of its liquidation can, theoretically, enrich other communities?

      What if, since the RSU was formed, our children, our tax dollars and our schools had been in the hands of skilled stewards committed to the pursuit of excellence and efficiencies that do not rely on scale?

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  5. Speaking of school closures does any one else it strange region two doesn’t have school today because of the roads but they won’t cancel the rest of rsu 50 . The rural roads are twice as bad as the interstate another great decision by this administration.

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  6. i guess you people dont get it, you do not have a say, your rights are gone. just like the schools, gone.

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    • You can “guess” all you like but our readers have a much more sophisticated understanding of the consolidation issue than either the Board or Administration.

      Are our rights gone? Yes. they cannot defend themselves.

      Are our schools gone? Yes. Katahdin was as good as dead before Larry had both feet in the door, and was in the works long before that.

      Can the people of the RSU communities take back their rights? …control over their children, tax dollars and schools? YES.

      …if they choose to take it on. The choice is, and always will be, theirs.

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  7. what needs to be drastically done is for Katahdin to withdraw from RSU 50 before this gets way beyond any control for us. I know at one point, Sherman had petitions going around to start the withdrawal process from the RSU. What ever happened to that? Patten folks are still waiting on ours to be made up and gotten out to the people to sign. As a paying property tax payer, I’d rather pay higher taxes and have control over my kids school than hand over control to the likes of Scot and Steve Walker and Larry Malone. I’m sure there are many more on the board who go right along with these but don’t know who they are. They are to blame just as much.

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    • Please don’t assume that withdrawal will result in higher taxes. The evidence is clear about the failure of consolidation schemes to save money. SACS needs a new roof, renovations…..

      “It’s fun to spend other people’s money” ~The Humble Farmer

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  8. Your town manager refuses to get that paper going. She has fought this withdrawal tooth and nail.

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    • Ultimately, it isn’t her decision. If the community wants to withdraw from the RSU, then, then others can circulate petitions. Of course the Town Manager is entitled to her opinion, just as any citizen and to speak out; make the case. She is not entitled, however, to leverage her position unduly to that end. People have told me that Patten would not allow those who want to explore withdrawal to post a notice of an exploratory meeting on Town bulletin boards. That would be wrong.

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  9. Pattern mom, you are right about the walker boys. They only think about there agenda, [money]. They have the board they want, i call them bobble heads. All they do is shake there head yes, on everything he and the walkers say. My kids WILL NOT GO TO SACS. Charter schools in maine, there credited and malone pays them.

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    • It isn’t just here. We all knew that the RSU model would empower those who would use children to make money rather than use money to educate children.

      Economic Development is about drawing investment i to your own community from outside of it; Baldacci’s “Local Schools Regional Support” means “Local schools for other, distant communities, but you get to provide the ‘regional support'”….. The Walkers are trying to ensure that they are among the former. If they were serious about “scale” they would board up their own windows and send their children to Houlton. ….but they want to retain for themselves the same benefits they are actively trying to deprive Katahdin families.

      I would have expected a fight here, between Board members advocating for their own communities. …but Board members barely talk to each other at meetings let alone debate; Phil Knowles touted his willingness to “throw my kids under the bus because SACS is closer to Region II”.

      There is no need to throw any child under a bus – ever. Seriously, if you a even thinking about it you do not belong on a Board.

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  10. It was a bad thing that happened yesterday at the little school. The roof started leaking real bad, and allot of the ceiling tiles had to be taken down. This could have been prevented by the man, he knew that it needed to be tared last year. But instead of having a LOCAL contractor fix it, he knowingly let it go. Why isn’t the board screaming out on this, where is the yes people, where is the no people. This says allot. People care,,,,,where.
    To let this man and his bobble head board members to get away with this,,,,,,,,THIS IS CRIMINAL. We are the tax payers,it is our money, where is the out-rage. Where in hell is every-body.

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    • The RSU model entrusts the likes of the Superintendent, the Chairman with the stewardship of the very infrastructure – YOUR infrastructure, that they want to liquidate to enrich their own.

      They know Katahdin is viable and valued but have made it clear that they absolutely do not care. Persuasion will not work, but you do have options to take control of your children and tax dollars.

      Where are the Selectmen? Do they know that their community assets are being deliberately starved, strangled via fiscal asphyxiation and destroyed by neglect? They not only have the power but an obligation. They can demand separate Boards within the RSU to ensure fair funding; that your money follows your children. They can help in the withdrawal effort.

      We have asked a Board member willing to keep communication open with us to find out where the money is going. It is proving very difficult as the RSU records are vague. It has been recommended to us that we attend finance committee meetings at 5:30 right before school board meetings.

      Press coverage here is either absent or embarrassingly fawning. Any citizen has a right to record meetings. We would be happy to post them here.

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  11. this is what tells it all jt. my wife and i just are beside our self’s over all the stuff that is going on. its just like all the people are so rich they do not care. if kids went over to the school and put holes in the roof and got caught, they would be arrested. the parents would be maid to pay for it. where is the difference. i heard that instead of getting it fixed, he called that team again to look at it, to see if they should close it. the reason i think we do not under-stand is we do not go to meetings.i just can not stand to hear all the lies. remember when ryan said that to you, that night, and we all no you no.

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    • This “team” does not look at leaky roofs gratis -or even cheaply. What could be done for kids with that money? There is a spending freeze….. The KHS library is closed for much of the week. What other services promised in the budget now being taken away from kids? Where the %>#£¥{ is the money going?

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  12. Meetings,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,boy that is a bad tasting word. Look at all the meetings that the task force went to. Waste of time. And i have a 10 dollar bill that half of them think they maid a difference. Just like the school board meetings, after there done they go back to island falls and have the real one behind close doors. You can not beat this kind of system. Because we try to do it right, and there doing it behind the curtain. Just like that last vote,,,,,,,,,,what a joke.

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    • You do have a point there. Though I do see value in attending meetings and speaking publicly at some of them…… You cannot beat this system but you can get out from under it. You have to take your schools and tax dollars away from these people so you can move forward with decisions that are best for your children.

      You do not need to attend meetings to do that.

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  13. Reblogged this on Timbered Classrooms… and commented:

    Our readers broke records yesterday for visitors and views; 822 and 1392 respectively. Thank you for your interst and input into the discussion – children and communities are better for your participation. We first published this outline from the State DOE on the School Building Closure process on Oct. 31, but it provides answers to your many questions. I am awaiting an update from the State on action from RSU 50 if any….

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  14. Pingback: Calculating Costs ….and More Costs | Timbered Classrooms...

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