WINSLOW — A Town Council proposal to form a joint, ad hoc education finance and performance advisory committee that the school board chairman said showed a “lack of trust” failed to gain a motion from the school board at its meeting Monday evening.

A suggestion to table the item was made, but Board Chairman Ron Whary said a motion to approve or oppose the item must be made before it could be tabled. No one made a motion, and the board moved on to the next agenda item, effectively killing the proposal.

The council previously had said that it needed the approval of the school board to form the committee, as it would include three board members and look at school issues.

This comes after Whary said the proposed resolution reflected a “definite lack of trust” between the board and the council.

Councilor Ken Fletcher had proposed the joint committee, which the council approved unanimously, as a way to foster better understanding between the two groups.

At the school board meeting Monday, Fletcher said the intent is to look three years ahead, as the district might face three potential changes: consolidation, declining enrollment and decreased state funding, and the possible dissolution of Alternative Organizational Structure 92.

Nearly all of the council members attended the meeting along with Town Manager Michael Heavener, who also spoke in favor of the proposal.

“The town charter was adopted in 1969, which is the year we came up with the process we use now,” Heavener said. “Things have changed drastically since then. We do a town Comprehensive Plan every 10 years. It includes everything except education. When I look at the Comprehensive Plan, I see a big gap.”

Superintendent Eric Haley agreed that planning ahead made sense, but he said the resolution didn’t call for that, but rather focused on the budget and student performance.

Some board members, such as Joel Selwood, said that those are school board issues that they were elected to deal with and that the proposed committee seemed like repetitive work.

The board also recommended that the town go ahead with a development proposal that would repurpose the Winslow Junior High School building, which the school board and the town have voted to close in anticipation of a consolidation plan.

A developer has expressed interest in converting the school into 50 apartment units for those who are 55 or older. The units would be affordable, and some would be subsidized.

“There’s a need for that kind of housing,” Heavener said.

While the development could pose a parking problem, Haley and the majority of the board expressed interest in seeing the space redeveloped for possible tax revenue, and that, depending on the plans, the parking could be worked out.

In other business, Haley discussed what he learned at a conference on the state-proposed School Management and Leadership Centers, which is part of the state push for regionalization.

Drummond Woodsum, a law firm that co-sponsored the conference, advised the school district to wait and see what happens with the centers, rather than act quickly and dissolve the district.

The districtwide school board had voted to study the feasibility of dissolving AOS 92 with the intent of forming three separate systems and a regional service center, most likely in Waterville.

Service centers would get reimbursed for some of their administrative work, while the district now stands to lose all of its state subsidy for system administration within the next few years.

However, the law firm advised districts to wait to see what actually materializes from the plan and who is elected governor in 2018.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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