Middleton, Wakefield districts look to send students to Kingswood
WOLFEBORO - Two neighboring school districts have expressed an interest in sending more students to the Kingswood High and Middle School campus within the Governor Wentworth Regional School District.
Over the past several weeks, the GWRSD has fielded different inquiries from the Middleton School Board and the Wakefield School Board.
Middleton School Board officials in October raised the possibility of a tuition agreement between the two districts that would allow Middleton's seventh through 12th grade students to attend the Kingswood middle and high schools. At its Nov. 5 meeting, the GWRSD board fielded a request from the Wakefield School District to become part of the Governor Wentworth District.
Superintendant Jack Robertson of the Governor Wentworth Regional School District said on Monday that at its last meeting the school board did not express any interest in a merger or adding any towns to the district, but the district would consider taking on additional students on a tuition basis.
Both Wakefield and Middleton/Farmington school districts have existing tuition agreements with other high schools - Wakefield students go to Spaulding High School in Rochester, and Middleton students go to Farmington High School. Farmington and Middleton are part of School Administrative Unit 61; Wakefield is part of School Administrative Unit 64; and The Governor Wentworth Regional School District is SAU 49, which includes Brookfield, Effingham, New Durham, Ossipee, Tuftonboro and Wolfeboro.
SAU 64 Superintendent Jay McIntyre said on Monday that the Wakefield School Board has just recently formed a sub-committee to consider options after the Governor Wentworth board wasn't interested in adding another town. He said there has been some discussion in Milton to put forth a warrant article asking voters whether or not they wanted to pull out of SAU 64 and create or merge with another entity.
"At that point, the board started discussing if Milton were to pull out of the SAU, what would Wakefield do, and what should Wakefield do now. The Wakefield board did not want to sit and wait until Milton made a decision and chose to be proactive and start thinking about options," McIntyre said.
He said the subcommittee, formed about 10 days ago, will look at tuition agreement options, but as yet there have been no decisions made. He noted that based on the current contract with Spaulding High School, 90 percent of students from the district are required to attend that school.
After riding the school bus with students from Wakefield to Spaulding High School in Rochester on the first day of school, McIntyre knows it's a long ride for some students.
"We have some students who have to get up pretty early," he said, noting he was aware of an ad hoc Rochester School Board committee that was looking into school start times. "My personal belief is that Wakefield would benefit [from a later start time]; I'd be interested in the analysis," he said, adding that time changes would affect families in many different ways.
Robertson said some students from both outside districts come to the high school on a tuition basis, and currently some students from Farmington are enrolled at the campus' new technical center. Wakefield currently sends about a dozen students on a tuition basis to Kingswood High School.