Regional School Unit 38 will be improving its schools.

Residents in the Maranacook Area Schools district approved a $5.8 million facility improvement bond Tuesday, by a vote of 427-317. The 15-year bond will be paid through the Maine Municipal Bond Bank.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support from all of our towns,” RSU 38 Superintendent Jay Charette said. “This vote sends the message that our schools are an important part of each of our communities. We need to keep them operating as key components of each individual town that makes up RSU 38.”

The repair work will include $2 million for a new roof at Maranacook Community High School and $1.5 million for a new boiler system at Manchester Elementary School. Wayne Elementary School will get new boiler and septic systems, and paving work would be done at Mount Vernon Elementary School. A water storage tank replacement is scheduled for Maranacook Community Middle School, and Millard Harrison Drive, which runs between Route 17 and the high school-middle school complex, will be re-engineered and repaved.

“I hope these improvements show our commitment to the communities, students, families, staff and other stakeholders,” Charette said, “enough so families will want to come and be part of the communities of RSU 38.”

Mount Vernon Selectboard Chairman Paul Crockett took issue with the projects.

“My preference would have been to see a more cohesive capital improvement plan for the RSU,” he said.

Crockett cited trepidation from residents in his town that the loan is a lot to spend when it’s not certain that each facility — specifically the primary schools — will still be used as schools in 15 years.

“What we have here is a punch list of urgent and almost urgent repairs, without regard for a real long-term plan for facilities usage,” he said. “There really needs to be some sort of plan that includes how each and every facility is to be used over the time period of the bond payment schedule.”

The district’s strategic plan is dated for 2012-2017.

At the time of the vote, no towns had come to the district seeking consolidation of schools. Charette said the district has undertaken a study that looked at historical enrollment, as well as projected enrollments for the next 10 years. He said that information will be sent to the district’s facilities committee and the RSU 38 board as they begin the long-range planning process.

Mount Vernon was the sole town to vote against the bond, 54-46. Manchester residents voted 125-58 in favor of the bond; Readfield residents, 161-154; and Wayne, 95-51.

Abigail Austin — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @AbigailAustinKJ


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