2016-09-16 / Front Page

Young School ballot question may be repealed

Saco officials considering applying for state subsidy instead
Staff Writer

SACO — With news the state may open up an opportunity for schools to apply for subsidy for construction projects, the city could consider to repeal its decision to put the Young School construction project on the November ballot.

The council may reconsider the issue on Monday.

Young School, located at the corner of Tasker and North Streets, is one of two schools in the city that serves students from kindergarten through second grade. The current school is a modular building built in 2004 as a short-term replacement when the previous school was torn down due to mold infestation, and school officials say the building is in need of replacement.

The council voted Sept. 6 to put a question on the November ballot asking voters whether to authorize the city to spend up to $21.5 million. Most of the money would go toward building a new pre-kindergarten through second-grade school at the existing Young School site to accommodate 370 students.

The remainder of the funds would go toward ren- ovations to the Gov. John Fairfield School, 75 Beach St., for similar learning spaces serving 330 pre-kindergarten through second graders.

School systems seeking state subsidy for construction projects can periodically apply to the Maine Department of Education for funding. Applications are reviewed by the Maine DOE and rated by need, and the list is sent to the State Board of Education.

“The Board funds as many projects from the list as available debt limit funds allow,” according to the Maine DOE website.

The last published list is from 2011, according to information from the Maine DOE website.

In a conversation with state officials last week, there was discussion that the state may open up its school construction list, City Administrator Kevin Sutherland said Thursday night in an email.

He said although there was nothing official or specific on when this might happen, city councilors wanted to know if they could repeal their decision to put the bond question on the November ballot.

Sutherland said he was working on a memo explaining the appeal process should the council choose to move forward with it.

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or egotthelf@journaltribune.com.

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