Voters on Tuesday said they don’t want to privatize school busing in Litchfield, Sabattus and Wales district by nearly a 2-to-1 ratio.

But the school board has final say because Tuesday’s referendum was nonbinding.

Unofficial results in each town were:

* Litchfield: 1,314 no; 557 yes;

* Sabattus: 1,605 no; 927 yes;

* Wales: 520 no; 309 yes.

Voters in Regional School Unit 4 were asked whether they favored contracting out all student bus transportation services instead of using district personnel if a bid cost was less.

A move to contract out the bus operations ignited a firestorm last spring as bus drivers who would lose their jobs with the district and other community members asked the board to reconsider the move, which was expected to save the district more than $220,000, minus the cost of a severance package for the drivers.

Drivers aired their concerns at school board meetings and picketed at one. The district had 22 drivers at the time.

Despite those efforts, the school board voted May 2 to privatize the operation.

Then, on May 9, the board opted against awarding the contract to the sole bidder, Northeast Charter & Tour of Lewiston, which provides bus service to Winthrop schools.


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