Since 2009, MSADs 27 and 10 have shared central office services as alternative organizational structure 95, or AOS 95. They were required to do this under then governor John Baldacci, but now, they could be separating.
“It never came to fruition I think what the Baldacci administration thought was going to happen,” said AOS 95 Superintendent Tim Doak.
Doak says becoming AOS was an alternative to becoming an RSU, that let each district keep local control. As an AOS, each district operates with their own school board while sharing one central office and a board of directors. Under the Baldacci administration, schools that didn’t consolidate would pay a penalty. For SAD 27, that was almost 170 thousand dollars and for SAD 10, almost 6 thousand. Now that Governor LePage has taken over and gotten rid of that penalty, the SAD 27 school board wants out of the AOS, Doak says it’s triple the work.
“There’s 3 bank accounts with three different fees, three school audits, three fees, duplication of work in the office – it was a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of money that went into creating these that the outcome was not a huge savings,” said Doak.
Doak says they had estimated by becoming an AOS they’d save ten thousand dollars because they eliminated a part time superintendent position – but they’ve ended up spending more than that as a central office. SAD 10 did benefit from the consolidation, so for them, this separation isn’t the best news.
“It’ll probably cost Allagash more money for their central office and the agreement they had,” he said.
After two public informational sessions, a public referendum vote for SAD 27’s withdrawal will happen on March 27th – and if it passes, it will take effect July 1st.