RSU 40 to welcome St. George high school students

By Beth A. Birmingham | Mar 07, 2014
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Interim Superintendent Michael Cormier, center, clarifies a few points on how the district becoming the School of Record for St. George will benefit RSU 40. Also shown at the March 6 school board meeting are Business Manager Karla Miller and Chairman Danny Jackson.

Union — The Regional School Unit 40 Board of Directors voted unanimously March 6 to accept St. George high school students if the town withdraws from RSU 13.

The board voted to become the "school of record," which means Medomak Valley High School would become the official high school for St. George students who would want to attend RSU 40.

"This is truly a win-win situation," said Interim Superintendent Michael Cormier following the board approval.

As part of a counterproposal, RSU 13 has stated Oceanside High School East and West will not accept St. George students. Negotiations are still in the works.

Cormier said the Five Town Community School District approved acceptance of St. George students March 5, but Camden Hills was not interested in being the school of record due to lack of state subsidy.

Transportation was a concern to some board members, and Cormier clarified that RSU 40 would not be financially responsible for that.

Cormier has met with proponents of the St. George withdrawal.

"We would accept students as tuitioned students and draw up a memorandum of understanding," said Cormier.

Cormier said St. George cannot withdraw from RSU 13 without obtaining a school of record. He also said St. George will pay tuition and all the costs associated with educating its children.

By state tuition rates, RSU 40 spends $8,229 per pupil, and St. George would be required to pay $8,262 per student to the district.

Camden Hills has signed the memorandum of understanding, according to Cormier. RSU 40 receives 45 percent in state subsidy, while Camden receives very little, he said.

"We will get enough state subsidy that it would cover if we had to hire additional personnel," said Cormier. "You have room in classrooms to put these children without adding more staff. It will generate revenue for you."

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Comments (1)
Posted by: GAIL HAWES | Mar 07, 2014 21:22

I have nothing against having any other town sending students to the SAD 40 system, however, I will state my concerns that I had back when the consolidation attempts were first made: We spent considerable amount of money consolidating two middle schools into one, and a big part of that argument for the new school was to unify the school programs and not have to "waste" the freshman year of high school getting all students on the same page. We discussed back several years ago about a 6th town joining SAD 40 after that town was unhappy with their proposed configuration. The overwhelming opinion at that time was that we would welcome any town, but as a complete partner, meaning their students would also attend the consolidated middle school and not have school choice but send all students to the high school as well. The big concern is that they needed to have a school of record for the more challenging students, but those who were eligible for enrollment elsewhere would still be allowed to go. My vote would be to gladly welcome St George as a full partner, but for ALL students from 7th to 12th grades.

I still feel like we got a raw deal with the new middle school and I'm still waiting for the great student gains we were promised, as well as the reduced cost to educating the students all in one place. Stapling together different towns all coming in with different backgrounds to the high school will put us back to square one.



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Staff Profile

Beth Birmingham
Staff Reporter
594-4401 ext. 125
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Beth rejoined Courier Publications' news staff in February 2013. She previously worked at The Courier-Gazette from 1981 to 1990.

Her coverage area includes Warren, Union, Friendship, Waldoboro, Washington, and Thomaston and RSU40.

Beth has a passion for photography, and a degree from the University of Maine at Augusta, in affiliation with the Maine Photographic Workshop in Rockport.

Aside from photography, Beth enjoys running and walks along the waterfront, as well as other outdoor activities. She has a daughter, Claire, who is 13.

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