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After six years of work the Valley Unified Regional School project will no longer be happening.

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 6:52 PM EST
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Aroostook County, Maine (WAGM) - This school project had approval of $110 million in state funding to build a new school. Adriana Sanchez talked to Superintendent Ben Sirois on what factors led to this fall out.

The Valley Unified Regional School project was a $110 million project. It had consisted of Madawaska School Department, MSAD33, and MSAD27. In December there was a mediation in hopes to solve this six year long project in regards of the issues the school districts were having.

“They needed to agree to form a regional school unit an RSU and that would be a shared entity to govern the new school. In order for them to agree to those terms there were some other things each member community or each school administrative district wanted to negotiate as well as part of that mediation. I was not part of that mediation I didn’t attend but I know that in addition to forming that RSU site selection was something that was on the table as well as the governance of the Valley Unified Board of Directors and ultimately the parties could not agree to terms in that mediation,” said Sirois.

In order for this project to have moved forward high schools in Madawaska, St. Agatha & Fort Kent would have closed. It was unanimously agreed with a site selection committee to have the new school adjacent to where the St. John Valley Technology center is.

“However after that was adopted there were a lot of questions remained with regards to the transportation of students and what’s going to happen to the economic side of – the impact of the economy of the local towns if the high schools were no longer located in their local community so those types of questions were concerning to some and you know ultimately that’s what led to board members feeling like they needed to advocate for their constituents,” said Sirois.

Elaine Dagile a Fort Kent Resident was not pleased when she found out this project was no longer happening.

“I think it would’ve been better for us, it would’ve cost us less money in the long run, I have no idea what they’re going to do now, I don’t know if they’re going to fix some of these schools up or what they’re going to do,” said Dagile.

Sirois wants the public to not point fingers at one another but to build bridges and move forward with one another.

Adriana Sanchez NewsSource 8

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