copyright the Chronicle March 15, 2017
by Elizabeth Trail
BARTON — A committee formed Monday evening to study how schools in the Orleans Central Supervisory Union (OCSU) will comply with the state mandate to consolidate into fewer districts struggled with the seemingly simple task of defining its goals.
Members of the committee were sharply divided on whether the point is to make another try at consolidating into a single unified school district, or explore other alternatives.
And they disagreed about whether to have the process driven by input from the community, or whether to start with the state mandate and figure out how to sell it to voters.
About 20 people, some members of the Act 46 Study Committee, and some interested citizens, came to the meeting in the COFEC building in Barton.
It was the committee’s first meeting since Town Meeting Day, when study committee members from each school district opened a dialogue with the public at their respective meetings and passed out copies of an updated Act 46 survey.
At its first meeting, the study committee decided it was important to get more public input.
Although the district merger proposal was defeated last year by five of the six towns in the Orleans Central Supervisory Union, only 552 people actually went to the polls.
In many towns, the margins were narrow, Chair Amy Leroux pointed out. In Albany, the consolidation measure was only defeated by three votes.
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