MILO — Following the affirmative vote 182-131 in last month’s referendum, SAD 41 will soon launch a revolving fund project of approximately $935,000 to upgrade the air system at the elementary school in Milo. The project would be largely funded by the Maine Department of Education’s Revolving Renovation Fund, and a request for proposals will be sent out soon.
MILO — Following the affirmative vote 182-131 in last month’s referendum, SAD 41 will soon launch a revolving fund project of approximately $935,000 to upgrade the air system at the elementary school in Milo.
The project would be largely funded by the Maine Department of Education’s Revolving Renovation Fund, and a request for proposals will be sent out soon.
“Tonight the board must approve what the public has approved,” Superintendent Michael Wright said during a school board meeting at Penquis Valley School on July 13. budget.
Under the Revolving Renovation Fund, 70% of costs are waived and DSS 41 would repay 30% interest-free over 10 years (a split of $670,000/$280,000). This would equate to approximately $28,000 per year to be paid by the district for a decade and would be incorporated into future budgets.
SAD 41 has used the school’s revolving renovation fund over the past few years. In 2017, residents of SAD 41 approved a loan of approximately $474,000 for a sprinkler system and an elevator in Penquis Valley.
“We can take other funds and apply them to different places,” Wright said last month, noting that COVID-related grants are being used for a variety of purposes at the 41 SAD schools.
Chief Commercial Officer Heidi Sisco said COVID-19 funds cannot be used to pay for part of the Revolving Renovation Fund’s 30% share of funds.
In other matters, Wright said he and representatives from three other area school districts met with the Maine Department of Education in the spring on the regional comprehensive high school project.
The local districts, SAD 41, Guilford-based SAD 4, Dexter-based SAD 46 and Corinth RSU 64, will need to cover the costs of an engineering study and other planning efforts before they can get the $100 million. state funding to build the project. The school would be voted on by referendum if progress was made in determining a facility somewhere in the area.
Wright cited a ballpark figure of $800,000 for those efforts, which includes hiring an architect and the site selection process.
“Where we are now, we have put out a tender to see what an architect costs,” he said.
The superintendent said that even if a bid was lower than the estimate, such as $500,000, that cost would still have to be quartered. A four-part split of $500,000 would give each district an expense of $125,000 not included in its budget, for a project that may not materialize.
Wright said he was not optimistic, referring to the project as being on life support, but said he and others involved would see what happens.
The $100 million secondary facility would be the first of its kind in the state. It would be a community school district that would be governed by 12 principals – three from each school unit who all come from local boards. The regional high school would be integrated as a vocational and technical school with the University of Maine system and the Maine Community College system, and it would support industry training programs, according to a description on the DOE website.
The current academic units would remain responsible for overseeing K-8 education in the respective districts.
Wright also said he met with Milo Police Chief Nick Clukey earlier in the week to discuss the idea of having a school resource officer in SAD 41.
“This is just the beginning of a discussion,” the superintendent said. “We don’t have anything in place yet, but we’ll bring back some ideas on how it might work.”
Wright said Clukey also spoke with building managers about security issues on individual campuses.