EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- After years of discussing the idea, towns in the Katahdin Region might now be giving greater thought to merging their schools again.
Voter in East Millinocket are having to decide whether to make $2 million in improvements to Schenck High School. They include fixing the school's roof and gym floor and bringing the facilities more up to code for students with disabilities.
Now one official in the town says he feels the better course of action is sending all students in East Millinocket to Millinocket schools next year.
Mark Scally is a selectman in East Millinocket. He says he feels the town should consider paying tuition to send all of its students to Millinocket schools for the next two school years. Millinocket's school board made an offer to East Millinocket in February where officials said the district would take all students from Kindergarten through 12th grade next year for $1.5 million dollars.
Officials estimate that could save East Millinocket about $800,000 over a two year period. Scally says that money could then be put back into improving Schenck as part of a larger school consolidation plan. He also says it would put both towns in better financial shape in case they get less funding from the state.
"My worry in all of this...is if we're so bent on maintaining our own identity that eventually we're both going to fall because it's gonna be a case of a house dividied can't stand," he said, "We have got to join forces...they can iron out the building they join them in but we have to join forces."
School officials in East Millinocket say tutioning students could save money. Their worry is it won't be enough to cover other costs. Those include paying unemployment benefits for laid off teachers if Schenck High School were to close.
The school board says it does plan to try and open talks with Millinocket in the near future.