Unanimous: SVRSU to see if Wiscasset would stay its high school of record

Fri, 10/15/2021 - 8:45am

    Sheepscot Valley Regional School Unit’s board was onboard with Superintendent of Schools Howie Tuttle’s offer Oct. 14. Members decided unanimously to have him find out if Wiscasset wants to keep taking students other schools will not.

    In a couple of years, when that set-up is set to end, the district will still need a high school of record, one that takes students other schools “disinvite,” Tuttle explained. Maine’s school consolidation law called for it, he said. And he said Wiscasset as a high school of record has been great. Students have gone there low on credits and succeeded, Tuttle told the board at Chelsea Elementary School and on YouTube.

    Officials also praised Wiscasset for serving as a lifeline when the district has had trouble placing some students who are in special education.

    Tuttle recalled there were sore feelings around Wiscasset’s withdrawal from the district, effective July 2014. “But in our world, our education world, it’s been fine. It’s been great. Students have been educated, we had a place for them to go.”

    He noted the district also sends students to other high schools, including Mount View, which he said readily accepts SVRSU students and is a shorter bus ride from Palermo. “But (Mount View is) not our high school of record.”

    Vice Chair Richard Cote of Chelsea said if the district has to go looking for one, “It’s going to be a mess. You’ll be out there begging.” He recalled the unit’s towns trying to get one when the district was forming. “We were shot down by all the area schools.”

    Member Ryan Carver of Windsor asked if Tuttle checked with Gardiner or Hall-Dale, schools that are “a lot closer to us.” Tuttle has not, in eight or nine years. And he said the only one interested then was Hall-Dale. He reiterated, district students can still choose a high school; at issue is where disinvited students would go.

    Tuttle told the board he will contact Wiscasset Superintendent of Schools Terry Wood. He did Oct. 12 to “warn” her, he said. Later Oct. 12, Wood told the Wiscasset School Committee. She, too, said the district’s students disinvited elsewhere have succeeded at Wiscasset Middle High School. But being the high school of record “also puts a lot of pressure on us,” she added.

    SVRSU has eyed forming a committee. Tuttle told Wiscasset Newspaper after the board meeting, “There will still be a committee if necessary.”