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May 14 meeting will focus on Valley Unified site selection

Representatives of WBRC Architects/Engineers will update Valley Unified committee and board members on May 14 about potential sites for a proposed new high school to serve students from three area administrative school units.

The Valley Unified Regional Educational Facility Site Selection Committee meeting, scheduled to start at 4 p.m. that Tuesday at the St. John Valley Technology Center in Frenchville, will identify and discuss potential sites within the towns of Madawaska, Frenchville, Fort Kent and possibly other communities in the region.

Organizers indicate that a “progress list with key plans of possible sites will be created with feedback from the site selection committee. WBRC will also discuss the site selection review criteria matrix that will be used as a tool to identify the best sites from those suggested.”

The Valley Unified Board of Directors will meet following the site selection gathering. That meeting is expected to start at about 6 p.m. at the same location.

The agenda for the directors’ meeting includes discussions about a requested amendment to the approved site selection process, a 9-16 versus 7-16 educational facility, straw poll and referendum voting.

Administrators and school board members from the Madawaska School Department and SADs 27 and 33 in the Fort Kent and Frenchville areas have been working together for about three years now to combine resources and save money in an effort to address declining enrollments and rising education costs.

Last year, the state authorized funding the Valley Unified effort up to $100 million for a new St. John Valley educational facility that would replace three high schools and serve students from Grand Isle to Allagash.

Joined under the umbrella of the Valley Unified Regional Service Center, the three school administrative units continue to move ahead with the site selection and design process. Residents of the member communities will still need to vote to approve the project and the Maine Department of Education will need to OK plans moving forward.

More information about the regionalization effort is available online at: http://valleyunifie­d.blogspot.com.

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