AUGUSTA — School construction projects in Newport and Sanford make up two-thirds of a list of projects the State Board of Education has committed to fund.

The board voted Wednesday to place six schools on the approved projects list of the Major Capital Improvement Program. The projects topped a priority list developed last year based on ratings of needs by state facility evaluators.

Monmouth Middle School, ranked ninth on the priority list, did not make the approved roster, but that does not rule out Regional School Unit 2 from receiving future state funding for a renovation or replacement.

The priority list will remain in place for at least a few years, so if more money becomes available during that time, Monmouth Middle School would be among the first projects to be approved, board members said.

“It’s not the end of the road for Nos. 7, 8, 9 and the rest of them,” state board member Martha Temple Tardy said.

The approved projects are a high school and an elementary school in Sanford, a high school and an elementary school in Newport and elementary schools in Corinth and Fryeburg.

Department of Education staff will work with those school districts to develop solutions to existing facility needs, whether that means renovating or replacing buildings.

No one yet knows how much the six projects will cost. It’s also not clear how much funding will be available, as money for school construction comes out of the state’s general aid to education.

“We wanted to be on the conservative side of this as we move forward, because we don’t know what the economy is going to bring,” Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen said.

The state board initially placed 13 projects on the approved projects list in August 2005. They added seven more projects in July 2006, including the new Chelsea School, which was ranked No. 15 and opened this school year.

The Department of Education started a new cycle of rating schools in 2010, which produced the priority list that’s now being used. Any additional projects to receive state funding will be approved following the order of the priority list.

Bowen said the department will not repeat the rating process to create a new priority list “anytime soon,” or at least a few years.

Monmouth Middle School underwent a major renovation in 1989.

Regional School Unit 2 officials have discussed creating a kindergarten through eighth grade school in Monmouth, which would also address the facility needs of Cottrell Elementary School. Cottrell is 56th of the 71 projects on the priority list.

Susan McMillan — 621-5645

[email protected]

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