Closing, merging schools to be considered

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Following 10 months of study by the Buildings and Grounds Committee, recommendations on closing and merging schools in RSU 10 were released to the public on Dec. 30.
There are three different reconfiguation options. All options call for closing Rumford Elementary School, the Pennacook Learning Center (former Virginia Elementary) and the former Dixfield Elementary School (which now houses the Fitness Center and Central Office). Two of the options call for the closing of the Mountain Valley Middle School. One option would move students from Dirigo High School to Mountain Valley High School.
Supt. Craig King, in attendance at the Dec. 29 Dirigo-Mountain Valley girls’ basketball contest, noted, “We’re not looking for a decision for the next budget. This is about the RSU for the next 25 years. We don’t need another quick fix.”
Option I would move grade 6 of Dirigo Middle School to Dirigo Elementary School; move grades 7-8 of DMS to Dirigo High School; move the Central Office, Fitness Center and Pennacook Learning Center to DMS; renovate and build an addition to Meroby Elementary School, with grade six from Mountain Valley Middle School moving there; move grades 7-8 from MVMS to Mountain Valley High School.
Option II would move grade 6 of DMS to DES; move grades 7-8 of DMS to DHS; move the Central Office, Fitness Center and Pennacook Learning Center to DMS; move pre-K to grade 3 students from RES to MES; move grades 4-5 from RES and MES to MVMS; move grades 7-8 from MVMS to MVHS.
Option III would have grades 6-8 from MVMS and DMS move to DHS; move the Central Office, Fitness Center and Pennacook Learning Center to DMS; renovate and build an addition to Meroby Elementary School, and move RES students to MES; and have DHS students move into MVHS.
King said, “We are not yet capable of applying dollar amounts to each option. This will require more significant work as citizens and the school board contemplate each option.”
In a community update, the superintendent noted why the study was necessary. “The current configuration, design and ages of our buildings are not particularly suited to the future needs of the students and communities of RSU 10. In addition to physical considerations, we also need to be concerned about fiscal realities that affect our ability to fund our schools.”
Public forums are slated for 6:30 p.m. on Weds., Jan. 28 in the MVHS gym; Mon., Feb. 2 in the DHS gym; and Tues., Feb. 10 in the Buckfield Jr-Sr High School gym.
People who would like to participate in this conversation but can’t attend one of the public forums can send their thoughts to: RSU 10 School Board, Buildings and Grounds, 33 Nash St., Dixfield, ME 04224.
Full details of the study will appear in the Wednesday, Jan. 7 edition of the Rumford Falls Times.

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