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January 28. 2014 5:57PM

Goshen gets state approval to leave co-op school district

GOSHEN — The State Board of Education has approved Goshen’s withdrawal plan from the Goshen-Lempster Cooperative School District, but voters will decide if the plan will move forward.

Voters will have their say at the Goshen-Lempster Cooperative School District Annual Meeting set for March 8 at 7 p.m. at Goshen-Lempster School in Lempster.

The process started last year with a petition from Goshen voters before the school district, said Michele Munson, School Administrative Unit 71 superintendent. If approved by voters, “Goshen would be a new school district and it would be part of SAU 71 at this point,” though Goshen voters could petition the state for a withdrawal from the SAU if they choose to do so.

The Cooperative School District has only one school, the kindergarten through eighth-grade Goshen-Lempster School in Lempster that has a student population of about 170.

Without Goshen students, enrollment would go to about 110, Munson said.

“We’ll have a school with potentially 110 students,” Munson said. “It would lend itself to maybe more multi-age classrooms.”

The movement to withdraw from the Cooperative started two years ago when Lempster voters approved a change in the district’s articles of agreement that took assessed value of properties of each town out of the town’s payment equations. Lempster voters wanted both town’s cost-per-student to be the same and they got their way, Munson said.

Both towns now pay about $10,000 per students from their respective towns, but that is an increase of about $3,000 per student for Goshen taxpayers, Munson said.

“They feel that they would save,” Munson said of the Goshen residents supporting the withdrawal. “The process and the vote to make that change predicated an increase in the Goshen tax rate so that sort of set the wheels in motion. …Their taxes went up a bit and so its caused some ill will and certainly some concern.”

If the withdrawal plan is approved, a Goshen School District would be established and the plan includes paying tuition to send the 60 Goshen students to an area elementary school such as Lempster, Sunapee or Newport.

SAU 71 pays tuition to send high school students to Newport, Sunapee, Keene, Claremont, Fall Mountain and Kearsarge.

In the event of the withdrawal, “We’ll do the best we can to support both towns,” Munson said. “We can only hope people make their decision based on what is good for the kids.”

mpierce@newstote.com


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