November 25, 2013

Standish considering withdrawal from SAD 6

The district’s largest town will explore leaving Bonny Eagle after a rift over the board holding on to state funds.

By Leslie Bridgers lbridgers@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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BONNY EAGLE AT A GLANCE

TOWNS: Standish, Buxton, Limington, Hollis, Frye Island

YEAR FORMED: 1959

ENROLLMENT (2012-13): 3,881, third largest after Portland and Lewiston

EMPLOYEES: More than 600

SCHOOLS: Eight

SQUARE MILES: 182

BUS MILES: 5,300 per day

MASCOT: Scots

FUN FACT: Local lore attributes the district’s name to a man of Scottish descent who was walking on the road by where the campus is now, spotted a bird overhead and said to his friend, “My, sir, isn’t that a bonny eagle!” It actually comes from a Native American word, spelled Bonnamaneglin or Bonnemanheglon by local settlers, meaning “swampy place.”

The request for proposals asks for a study of the financial and educational impacts of withdrawing from the district and of the different possibilities for reorganizing with other communities. The target date for completion is March 2014.

Superintendent Frank Sherburne and board chairwoman Charlotte Dufresne didn’t return calls seeking comment for this story.

Sherburne was recently at the center of a public quarrel between the teachers union and the school board over complaints lodged by the union. Blanck, the Standish council chairman, said the talk of withdrawal is not related to that issue.

Asked how they thought a breakup would affect Standish and the district, school board members said the board has a policy that any comments to the media must come from the chairwoman or the superintendent. A couple of members representing Standish, however, offered their thoughts as Standish residents.

“I can only watch and wait,” said Todd Delaney. “As a parent, I have a lot of questions and I’m waiting for a lot more information from my town.”

Daniel Kasprzyk, another board member from Standish, said withdrawal is worth at least looking at.

“If they want to pursue that, spending 10 grand to find out what it wound entail is probably appropriate money spent,” he said.

Students’ opinions were a bit sharper.

Sophomores Angie Hassapelis and Elizabeth Sukalas, both of Buxton, said they wouldn’t want to see their friends from Standish leave the school. But if the change happened down the road, they said, it could be for the best for students.

“We’re all shoulder-to-shoulder walking through the halls. (The crowding) is pretty bad,” said Hassapelis, 15.

Sukalas said she wishes she could have gone to high school just with kids from Buxton.

“I don’t like when they put towns together,” she said.

Spencer Durkee, a senior from Standish, said he likes being part of a larger community. “I like Bonny Eagle,” he said.

Junior Lane Poirier, also of Standish, could see the pros and cons.

“It would be cool to have your own school,” he said, “but you wouldn’t know as many people.”

A breakup of the district would be life-altering for athletes, according to a group of girls’ basketball players gathered last week at Low’s, a popular pizza shop and convenience store down the street from Bonny Eagle High School.

Megan Morash, a junior from Hollis, said she used to play against Standish sisters Elizabeth and Natalie Bushey, before they all came together on the same high school team.

“We used to hate each other,” Morash said. “Now we’re best friends.”

Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

lbridgers@pressherald.com

Twitter: @lesliesbridgers

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