The SAD 51 superintendent and the school board next week will discuss short-term plans – including adding more modular classrooms – to relieve overcrowding in schools in the wake of last week’s failed bond referendum, Superintendent Jeff Porter said Monday.

Voters in the Cumberland-North Yarmouth district on Nov. 8 rejected a $73.9 million bond for a new primary school 4,443 to 3,596.

“It’s short-term stuff with the understanding that at some point, a longer-term decision will have to be made,” Porter said in an interview with The Forecaster. “Projections show that we’re going to have at least 300 more kids over the next decade, so that’s a school’s worth of kids right there,” Porter said.

The district is using modular classrooms, but that is not a long-term solution, Porter said.

“That was a short-term plan, thinking that we might have a school decision, but now that we have more years we’re going to have to build in, we have to think about how we’re going to do this differently,” he said.

The bond would have allowed Cumberland and North Yarmouth to allocate $70.3 million for the pre-K through grade 2 school, along with $1.2 million to buy a 76-acre site at 80 Gray Road in North Yarmouth. The bond also would have covered $2.4 million in renovations at the Mabel I. Wilson school in Cumberland.


The $73.9 million bond that went to voters was more costly than originally planned, Porter said, attributing the increase to the rising cost of materials and construction.

“I think it’s maybe still too quick after COVID, but we had a problem that we needed to address,” Porter said.

In a statement Tuesday, school board Chairperson Jason Record, said SAD 51 voters, like others elsewhere in the state, balked at making such a big investment.

“Looking around at at least four other failed public projects in the area, it is clear that many people are reluctant to invest right now, and that is understandable,” Record said. “With this in mind, we will work toward a short-term solution with as little disruption as possible while also working on a long-term solution, as well, albeit with an additional delay.”

Porter said he is committed to working with the school board to come up with a long-term solution.

“We’re always going to continue planning,” he said. “We’re here for the kids and we want to do the best for them.”


Record agreed.

“I am confident we can solve both the short-term and long-term needs, and that our staff will do what is needed to maintain our great schools,” he said. “Stay tuned and have faith – we will get through these growing pains.”

The MSAD 51 school board is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Monday at Greely High School.



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