Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mason schools look ahead after pulling out of SAU 63

The following piece appeared in the Union Leader. The school board and the committee to decide the contract with Newport that expires in 2010 should be open to all possible solutions that best meets the needs of the children, parents and taxpayers of Croydon.

Mason schools look ahead after pulling out of SAU 63
New Hampshire Union Leader Correspondent
Tuesday, Mar. 18, 2008

MASON – After nearly six years, the Mason School District declared its independence from the Mascenic Regional School District last Tuesday. Now, the town has until 2009 to determine where its students will attend school.

By a vote of 946 to 617, Mason earned its right to leave the Mascenic Regional School District, which includes the towns of Greenville and New Ipswich.

"We're obviously very pleased," said Mascenic School Board member Dr. Chris Guiry of Mason. "But now we have a lot of heavy lifting to do."

The town of Mason has been trying to withdraw from the Mascenic School District for nearly six years, but its intentions were met with resistance from the state Department of Education and the towns of New Ipswich and Greenville, with which it educates students in grades five through 12.

However, last year the Department of Education gave its blessing to Mason's withdrawal plans, and on Tuesday, a majority of voters in Mason and New Ipswich agreed to allow the withdrawal to move forward. Though voters in Greenville defeated the warrant article, there were enough votes in the other towns to carry it.

Over the years, Mason has argued that it's been paying an unfair share of the educational costs of the district, while at the same time not seeing its desired educational goals being met. The new Mason School Board, which will have to be elected, will have to purchase its elementary school from Mascenic at a cost of $750,000. And over the next year, the district is going to have to determine whether to tuition students to Milford or North Middlesex, Mass., starting in September 2009.

The Milford School District voted last Wednesday to allow the district to enter into tuition agreements with other towns, according to board chairman Peter Bragdon, so that option is very much on the table for Mason.

But the Mason withdrawal isn't the only shakeup happening for Mascenic. Beginning next year, Mascenic will pull out of SAU 63, which includes the districts of Wilton, Lyndeborough and Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative.

Mascenic will go on to form a new SAU, while Wilton and Lyndeborough will retain the title of SAU 63. As a result of the split, Mascenic will incur an additional cost of about $37,000 a year, and Wilton and Lyndeborough's three districts will face a combined annual increase of about $175,000, according to Superintendent Francine Fullam.

Quotes of the Day
"Make yourself sheep and the wolves will eat you." Benjamin Franklin
“No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmund Burke

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