WINSLOW — The Winslow School Board chairman said there is a “definite lack of trust” between the board and the Town Council at a meeting Monday evening, after the council proposed creating a joint ad hoc committee on finance and performance.

Chairman Ron Whary said he doesn’t think the committee, which was proposed by councilor Ken Fletcher and unanimously approved by the council, is needed.

“I’ll put it on the agenda for the next meeting and we can vote on it, but that’s my recommendation,” he said. If the resolution fails with the school board, the committee won’t be created.

Most of the board seemed to agree with Whary, questioning why the council felt it was necessary and whether it would even be possible, given the current time constraints during budget time.

“Aren’t we all elected (for this)?” said board member John Ferry. “It seems like double work.”

Ben Twitchell was the only council member who attended the meeting. He said the council is hoping to get more information about the budget process from the committee.


“We just thought that if we had a group that could bring back information between the two groups, that way we could have an idea before we take a vote,” Twitchell said.

Chris Preble, assistant principal at the junior high school, said that the school board and budget meetings are open to the public.

“If you don’t wanna attend that’s fine, but I don’t see why we need another committee,” he said.

Board member Joel Selwood questioned whether adding another layer to the budgeting process would be plausible for administrators, given the constraints of the Alternative Organizational Structure, or AOS, system.

At the August Town Council meeting, Fletcher said the committee could help foster better communication and understanding between the board and the town, which would be important given the impending changes. The town will vote on whether to take out a $10.3 million bond to renovate the high school and elementary schools, as the junior high is set to close in a few years. The state is also working to restructure how it doles out money to districts, which could bring more challenging budgets.

Whary has been involved with the board since 1962, he said, and these past two or three years have been the worst he’s ever seen.


“I don’t think that improves the trust issue at all Ben, I think that increases it,” he said. “They don’t come to our meetings, they don’t come to our budget workshops … When (Gerald) Saint Amand was chairman, he used to be at every meeting. He knew everything that was going on, and things went pretty well.”

The board also has to think about whether it wants to stay within the AOS structure.

Superintendent Eric Haley talked about the state’s push to create regional service centers and how that could help the AOS 92 schools, which include Waterville, Winslow and Vassalboro, financially.

The AOS 92 board voted to study the feasibility of dissolving the AOS structure and creating three systems.

According to Haley, the governor’s office has recommended eliminating reimbursements for system administration at schools. If the district stayed together as an AOS, it would eventually get zero dollars for that item.

The state is pushing schools to form regional service centers. For example, if Waterville became the regional service center, it could provide services like accounts payable or payroll for Vassalboro and Winslow, some of which it’s doing now.


“If you participate as a regional service center, there’s so many dollars per student that you’d get reimbursed for system administration,” he said. “(…) I’m looking to position ourselves financially.”

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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