MADISON — The local school district is looking to increase the number of seats on its board of directors from six to seven in an effort to make voting more efficient.
Residents will be asked to vote on the change at a special town meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Madison Area Memorial High School. The meeting will be followed by the budget validation meeting at 7 p.m.
The proposed change to the board comes in the wake of several towns withdrawing from the district and changing the structure of the board from 11 members to the current six.
“Our board only represents one town, Madison, and it has been a lot easier to work closely with the town as a result,” said Todd LeRoy, superintendent of School Administrative District 59. “But when it comes to getting things passed, it’s much easier with an odd number.”
The proposal, which would go into effect July 1, would increase the number of directors from six to seven to be elected on staggered three-year terms and each having one equal vote. The town board of selectmen would be allowed to appoint an interim director to fill the immediate vacancy until a full-term member could be elected at the annual elections in June 2015.
Since 2012 three communities — Athens, Brighton Plantation and Starks — have withdrawn from the district. The board formerly operated on a weighted voting system that was cited during the withdrawal processes as unfavorable to the smaller towns.
Since those communities have left, LeRoy said it has become easier for the town of Madison and school district to work together.
For example, the board and town have established agreements to share fund balances should either entity need to borrow money. The town is also supplying the district with a $225,000 interest free loan that will be used to pay for three new school buses.
The school district will eventually be reimbursed completely by the state for the buses, as long as they are able to provide the money initially.
Residents Monday will also be asked to approve a $9.99 million budget for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year. The budget includes a $40,000 increase in the amount of money to be raised through local taxes.
The special town meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Madison Area Memorial High School. It will be followed by the budget validation meeting at 7 p.m.
Rachel Ohm — email@example.com