SABATTUS — Oak Hill High School won’t be seeking federal dollars in the form of a school improvement grant.

The board of Regional School Unit 4, Litchfield, Sabattus and Wales, voted Wednesday against applying for the money in the wake of the high school’s designation as “a persistently low-achieving school.”

Oak Hill, which has 500 students enrolled, was one of 10 schools in the state so designated this year. Those schools can apply for federal money for programs designed to boost student performance.

Part of the requirement to obtain the funds is to replace the principal if the principal has been in place for more than two years.

Pat Doyle has been principal at Oak Hill since the 2005-06 school year; prior to that, she was vice principal.

RSU 4 Superintendent James Hodgkin said the board spent more than three hours in executive session discussing the issue and weighing the possible gain from additional funds against the potential disruption.

“The board felt the disruption was not worth the potential gain,” he said. The school would compete against five others for a $3.4 million pot.

However, he said the district is taking other action to improve. The designation resulted, at least in part, from student performance on the SATs.

“I have spent time working with the leadership team at the high school and middle school talking about this issue,” Hodgkin said. “We will most definitely be working on bolstering the school improvement plans we have in place.”

The board approved several other items Wednesday during its meeting at Oak Hill Middle School:

* It approved a $17.2 million budget for the upcoming school year.

That figure, some $230,000 less than the current year — will be presented for a public vote 6:30 p.m. June 1 at the high school in Wales, then go for a validation vote at the polls in all three towns June 7.

Hodgkin said the district will receive $30,000 more in state subsidies next year than it does this year.

“Up until six weeks ago, we anticipated $600,000 less from the state,” he said. “When the print out came out, we were pretty happy about that.”

* It ratified a new three-year contract for teachers, essentially merging four separate contracts into one.

Hodgkin said the teachers have already ratified the pact, which carries raises for some, but not all teachers.

* The board also approved the calendar for the 2011-12 school year.

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