School costs spur discussion in Otis

Administrative Assistant Laura Salisbury (standing) answers a question during the Otis annual Town Meeting Saturday morning at Beech Hill School. Listening are Selectman Hal Goss (left) and Town Clerk Kim Ericson (right).

OTIS — Tuition to the Beech Hill School was a hot topic at the annual Town Meeting Saturday morning in the school’s gym.

At issue were Mariaville students who attend Beech Hill. Mariaville is part of Regional School Unit 24 (RSU 24), while Otis has its own school department.

The RSU pays the Otis School Department $6,631.68 per Mariaville student at Beech Hill.

The Otis School Department is entitled to charge a nonresident tuition rate equal to its state-calculated per-pupil cost, which is $8,400 this year.

The RSU is paying the lower rate because that is its state-set per-pupil operating cost. The Otis School Department and RSU 24 school boards reached an agreement to accept students at the RSU’s rate a couple of years ago.

Otis Superintendent Judy Lucarelli said Otis’s per-pupil rate would be higher without the Mariaville students and that Otis School Department officials were concerned that “if we demanded the money this year, we’d lose the kids.”

Find in-depth coverage of local news in The Ellsworth American. Subscribe digitally or in print.

Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller

Reporter at The Ellsworth American,
Steve Fuller worked at The Ellsworth American from 2012 to early 2018. He covered the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. A native of Waldo County, he served as editor of Belfast's Republican Journal prior to joining the American. He lives in Orland.
Steve Fuller

Latest posts by Steve Fuller (see all)