A brand new highschool constructing is on the poll within the Boothbay space this November. The worth is the most important downside.
The college district that features Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Edgecomb, Georgetown and Southport put ahead a referendum to interchange Boothbay Area Excessive College and renovate Boothbay Area Elementary College at a mixed value of $89 million.
Changing the Chilly Warfare-era highschool could be $60 million of that, and there could be no monetary help from the state. The issues within the Boothbay area are much like these in different elements of Maine. Whereas the constructing is outdated, enrollment has fallen lately. Some suppose the board may have superior cheaper choices.
“The city goes to be caught with this bond,” former Boothbay Harbor Selectman Denise Griffin mentioned. “So we’d like to verify we’re spending cash on the suitable issues.”
If each elements of the referendum move in November, Boothbay’s taxes may enhance by 40 p.c, City Supervisor Daniel Bryer mentioned. College officers would elevate funds to offset prices, mentioned Superintendent Robert Kahler of the district often called AOS 98.
Among the choices that folks together with Griffin are asking for embrace a regional college with neighboring cities and solely renovations on the outdated highschool as a substitute of developing a brand new constructing. However Kahler mentioned the varsity board thought-about these choices. The method for crafting a regional college is difficult and takes a very long time, and the outdated highschool is simply too run-down to easily make repairs, he mentioned.
The highschool was inbuilt 1956 and lacks insulation, has structural cracks and desires extra space for extra science, know-how, engineering, and math schooling, Kahler mentioned. On the mixed elementary and center college, three pipes burst final yr.
“The highschool is in a situation the place if a big funding just isn’t made quickly … deciding to postpone selections would in the end result in the highschool closing,” Kahler mentioned. “It’s not going to get any inexpensive to restore.”
One other challenge that considerations Griffin is the seemingly skewed tax burden on totally different cities throughout the college district. The tutoring price per pupil in Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor is between $20k-22k, whereas the state-mandated tuition price for college students outdoors the district is just below $13k. With tax will increase, the schooling within the Boothbay area is more likely to enhance.
This goes hand-in-hand with the growing variety of college students going to Boothbay Area Excessive College and Boothbay Regional Elementary College from cities that don’t have their very own highschool. Regardless of that, demographics have led to the scholar inhabitants on the Boothbay faculties dropping from practically 600 in 2011 to 480 in 2021, in accordance with paperwork from AOS 98.
In 2021, the quantity of scholars attending the highschool from outdoors the area was practically that of Boothbay Harbor. Seventy-five college students from Boothbay attended the highschool that yr. This is the reason some are arguing for a regional college.
However preserving the placement of the highschool within the Boothbay area as a hub for the neighborhood is vital, and ready the years to provide you with a consolidation plan may take too lengthy for the constructing to stay protected, Kahler mentioned. If the neighborhood votes down Query 2 on the referendum and needs a regional college, he mentioned the varsity board will look into it.
If the referendums move, the renovation of the elementary and center college and the development of the highschool may take about 4 years to finish, Kahler mentioned. The brand new highschool could be full in February of 2027, and the renovations could be performed that summer season.
Kahler mentioned he’s trying ahead to listening to the neighborhood’s response to the referendum in November.
“One of many issues that attracted me to this area is that they have smaller faculties, which in lots of methods might be extra nimble and extra adapt to wants,” Kahler mentioned. “And these communities are very particular, they’re very concerned.”