Towns in the Five Town Community School District will once again begin discussing school district reorganization.

The Five Town CSD board voted Jan. 6 to allow Assistant Superintendent Michael Weatherwax to create a Reorganization Planning Committee to begin looking at district consolidation.

Weatherwax said the school boards in Maine School Administrative District 28, which includes Camden and Rockport, and School Union 69, which covers Hope, Appleton and Lincolnville, will also have to decide whether to move ahead with setting up the group before it is organized.

In January 2009, voters in SAD 28 and the Five Town CSD, which includes Camden, Rockport, Hope, Appleton and Lincolnville, rejected a consolidation plan in a vote of 656 to 135. The plan was voted down in each of the five towns.

A major reason the plan failed was that the penalties not to consolidate would have been less than the loss in state subsidy.

Given recent estimates in the cuts the districts will face, this is no longer the case, Superintendent Pat Hopkins told the Five Town CSD board Jan. 6.

Each school district — SAD 28, the Five Town CSD and Union 69 — gets a subsidy from the state, but if the districts had decided to combine, the subsidy would have been lost because SAD 28 is considered a minimum receiver and does not receive a substantial amount of state aid.

At the time of the vote, the district would have lost $376,000 in subsidy and been faced with potential employee salary increases of more than $420,000 to level teacher pay scales across the five towns.

Now the districts are faced with approximately $600,000 in penalties across the five towns.

For the 2010-2011 school year, SAD 28 is projecting a $250,000 subsidy loss and the CSD is expecting about a $1 million curtailment, according to the business office.