SAD 35 seeks change to school regionalization

Seacoastonline By Mark Pechenik Jan 2, 2019

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — SAD 35 is seeking to modify school regionalization efforts that have negatively impacted its share of state funding.

In particular, SAD 35 Superintendent Mary C. Nash announced at the school board’s meeting Wednesday that she has requested state Rep. Tiffany Roberts-Lovell support LD 1689.

Titled “An Act To Repeal Certain Provisions Regarding the System Administration Allocation,” LD 1689, if passed, could bring funds back to SAD 35 for district management.

“At present, school districts are eligible for $141 per pupil if they participate in regional management centers,” Nash said. “However, only those districts that participate in these centers may get this funding.” Also, this money was taken from regular school funding to support the center initiatives.

Established by the Legislature, the centers seek to lower education costs and increase schools’ buying power, by having school districts collaborate on the purchases of supplies and services.

However, for SAD 35, there has been little incentive to join these centers. “RSU 21 in Kennebunk has focused on bulk commodities for food service programs,” Nash said. “But we opted not to join because it could infringe on the contract with our current food service provider, Chartwells.

Rather than miss out on center funding, SAD 35 is joining other districts seeking an exemption that would restore the $141 per pupil monies.

Asked what the restored funding would be used for, Nash cited district management needs such as human resources, finance and accounts payable functions of SAD 35′s central office.

Auditions are ongoing for Marshwood High School’s spring theater productions. In addition, a Central Elementary School community effort to provide holiday gifts for disadvantaged families was “very successful, very personalized,” according to Principal Nina D’Aran.

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