Meeting scheduled to address RSU 24 busing proposal

SULLIVAN — Parents and community members will have a chance to weigh in Tuesday, May 3, on a proposal to send some students from Mountain View School to other elementary schools to relieve overcrowding.

The meeting will be held at Sumner Memorial High School and will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Superintendent Michael Eastman said in an April 8 letter to parents that Mountain View is in an “enrollment bubble” with 256 students.

“All of our classrooms are full, with class sizes ranging from 16 to 28 students and there is no room to create additional classroom space,” Eastman said. “It has become a challenge to meet the needs of all Mountain View students with a building that is so congested.”

He said the district is hoping to have a redistricting plan in place for the 2016-2017 school year.

Eastman said he understands this is a major shift in operations, but the board believes it is preferable to having students in overcrowded classrooms or in portable classrooms.

He said the Facilities and Transportation Committee of the Regional School Unit 24 (RSU 24) Board has been discussing options.

The district has four elementary schools — Mountain View, Peninsula School in Gouldsboro, Cave Hill School in Eastbrook and Ella Lewis School in Steuben.

Eastman said one proposal is to send children at the Franklin end of the district to Cave Hill and students who live at the east Sullivan end of the district to Peninsula.

Board members said at a prior meeting that about 24 students might be relocated.

Eastman said Cave Hill and Peninsula offer similar programming in academics and athletics and may have smaller class sizes.

Complicating matters is the fact that there are several unknowns at the moment, he said, such as when Sumner might qualify for a new high school.

The aged school has been moving up the Department of Education’s list of schools due to be replaced.

Eastman said one scenario the board might consider in the future is turning Sumner Memorial High School into a combination middle and high school, including grades 6-12 or 7-12.

Another potential variable is the Mariaville students who now attend Beech Hill School in Otis.

The district pays tuition for the students and the board has directed school officials to negotiate a long-term contract with the town of Otis.

Should negotiations not be successful, those children could be sent to Cave Hill School, Eastman said.

“The other thing we don’t know anything about are fluctuations (in enrollment) we get in the summer,” Eastman said. “That is an issue for us.”

He said he has received only one telephone call from a concerned parent, while others have called the district office to inquire if their children will be affected by a possible move.

Jacqueline Weaver

Jacqueline Weaver

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Jacqueline's beat covers the eastern Hancock County towns of Lamoine through Gouldsboro as well as Steuben in Washington County. She was a reporter for the New York Times, United Press International and Reuters before moving to Maine. She also publicized medical research at Yale School of Medicine and scientific findings at Yale University for nine years.[email protected]
Jacqueline Weaver

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