AOS 77 To File Suit Against Calais

By Gwen Clark

Last year in a referendum vote by its citizens, Calais withdrew from the contract with AOS 77. The other schools  remained with AOS 77 and pulled their central office out of the Calais High School Superintendent’s  Building and relocated to Eastport, one of their remaining schools in the AOS.  The Superintendent honored his contract with the AOS and stayed with it. Calais had to search for  and hire a new Superintendent for their school and fund that office and staff fully on their own.  Items purchased for use by the AOS during the time that Calais remained a member were removed from the System and remained with the AOS. The choice left the Calais School System in dire straits and close to financial ruin for last year’s budgeting.

On January 28th the AOS 77 Board held their meeting to receive news from their Vice Chairman of the Board, Steven Knowles of Alexander, that mediation had failed to resolve the issue of Calais being held liable for their share of the AOS Superintendent’s contract for the remainder of the contract which they had entered into by initiating  and developing AOS 77.  Calais’ share of the balance of that contract  sees Calais as the responsible party for paying the 37% for the remainder of the contract which extends until 2017.  A contract that Calais had agreed to as a member of the AOS at that time, although they are no longer a member of the AOS.  Mr. Knowles shared with AOS Board members that at the January 10th, 2014  meeting  with a mediator in Bangor, AOS Superintendent Jim Underwood; Edmond Bearor of Rudman Winchell in Bangor, Attorney for the AOS;  Daniel Stockford of Brann and Issacson in Lewiston; Attorney for the Calais School Committee; Calais City Manager Dianne Barnes and Mayor Marianne Moore as representatives of the City of Calais.   

Although Calais representatives offered to drop their claim for the return of Calais’ 37%  of the unspent balance from AOS 77; they did not want to negotiate the Superintendent’s Contract.  The AOS 77 representatives were looking for Calais to pay $31,320 per year for the remaining four years of the contract.  AOS 77 will now proceed with its case against Calais in Washington County Superior Court.   The failure of Calais to pay the 37% share of its contract will have a limited impact on the AOS budget.  The AOS is planning to have little or no increase for its upcoming budget and to use reserve funds for the remainder of this year.