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Dummer faces cooperative school district decisions

By Debra Thornblad
Special to the Union Leader

March 09. 2014 6:21PM

DUMMER — An article on the Dummer School District warrant will ask residents whether they want to continue participating in a cooperative study committee that is looking at whether Dummer and Milan should join with the GRS Cooperative School District towns — Gorham, Randolph and Shelburne — to form a new cooperative.

The vote is advisory only, but if residents say they don’t want to continue, it would mean Dummer would withdraw from the study committee.

Last year, residents in all three districts voted to establish a cooperative study committee, which has been meeting at least monthly. Recently it has struggled with what exactly its role should be. Should it study the feasibility only, or go further and establish proposed articles of agreement. It voted at its last meeting to look at the feasibility only.

Meanwhile, the committee has been gathering information on costs and transportation. Preliminary budget information shows all towns but Dummer would probably see a budget decrease. Dummer’s projected tax rate increase would be 19 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

Busing concerns

But the bigger concern to Dummer residents was the information on transportation. It showed students would be on the bus at least another 15 minutes each way to get to Gorham, which could mean as much as an hour and a half each way for some students.

At present, Dummer has an agreement with Milan for pre-kindergarten through grade 6. For grades 7 and up, they have a choice. The town pays the tuition to any public school. The town has a tuition agreement with Berlin for grades 7 through 12, and most, and some years all, students go there.

If it entered a cooperative, it would have to send students to schools within the cooperative or the parent would have to pay for the student to go elsewhere.

Dummer holds its school district meeting and town meeting on the same night, Tuesday, March 11. The school meeting starts at 6 p.m. and the town meeting follows.

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