May 21, 2007
By MEGAN JAMES
WHITING/SUDBURY — After less than two months of public meetings, the Whiting and Sudbury school boards have drafted a joint contract agreement to consolidate their elementary school operations for the 2008-2009 academic year. Now they hope to begin gathering feedback from their respective communities.
Each town will hold a special town meeting on Nov. 6 at which a final plan will be presented and residents in each town will vote on the idea.
“The school boards wanted to get the proposed contract out to the citizens for review and suggestions,” said William Mathis, Superintendent of the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union. “At this early date, we have time to consider and revise as needed.”
As the draft reads now, starting in the fall of 2008, the Whiting school would serve kindergarten through second grade students and the Sudbury school would serve third- through sixth-graders.
According to Mathis, both towns would retain separate school boards, but an additional joint board would be created from members of those existing boards. Members of the joint board will be drawn to proportionally match the number of students from each respective town. The joint board would handle the educational operation and the town boards would maintain facility repairs.
The Sudbury-Whiting school would operate with three different spending plans: a joint operating budget, which would cover the schools’ major operating costs like educational programs and staff salaries, and two separate town budgets to pay for facilities maintenance, as each town will retain ownership of its own school building.
The two schools have suffered decreasing enrollment over the past few years, with Whiting currently serving 35 students (including preschool) and Sudbury 24 students.
The schools began taking active steps towards a merger last winter, when they hired a new principal, Mike O’Neill, to split his time between the Sudbury and Whiting schools. He will begin his three-year contract this August.
Copies of the proposed contract are available at both Whiting and Sudbury town offices or by . Area residents with questions can call Mathis at 247-8150.