School Committee Looking at Setting Plan For AOS Withdraw

By Marla Hoffman

The Calais school committee met this week to discuss moving forward with drafting an exit plan for the district’s expected 2013 withdraw from AOS 77. 

Voters on Election Day chose for Calais to withdraw from the AOS, which followed an inquiry led by city and school officials into whether going out on their own would be beneficial to the city. 

The question on the ballot had a withdraw date of June 30, 2013 or 2014, and the city has not yet made a decision on that. At a recent workshop, school committee members debated whether or not there was enough time to complete the withdrawal plan by next June. 

“We have to think realistically; can we do it by 2013,” said school committee David Markow, who has taken the lead in the withdrawal efforts. “There is a sense that the council and liaison committee would like to push through by 2013.”

Among the other issues that were discussed Tuesday was seeking guidance from Maine School Management on organizational and personnel matters. The meeting happened after the Advertiser’s deadline, and the discussion will be covered in next week’s paper. 

City attorney David Fletcher will be assisting the board in legal matters, including seeking legal services from Brann & Isaacson, a legal firm that has previous experience with AOS and RSU withdraws elsewhere in the state. 

Markow said he’s going to push to have the meetings with Brann & Isaacson and Maine School Management happen before Christmas. 

The committee is also looking at a draft plan on how and when the withdraw will happen, including how the superintendent’s office will be organized and how job descriptions and contracts will be drawn up — something that Maine School Management will be able to help with, said Fletcher. 

Once a plan is finalized by the school committee, it will be sent to the Maine Department of Education for approval. 

Another task the committee will be working on is reaching out to the other towns in AOS 77. At the committee’s workshop, members said they wanted feedback and thoughts on Calais’ withdraw, on the future of the AOS and the possibility of some of the other towns joining Calais in a new district apart from AOS 77.

A mid-December AOS board meeting is being planned, though no date has been set yet.