ConVal attorney answers withdrawal questions

By JESSECA TIMMONS

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 04-18-2024 8:46 AM

Modified: 04-19-2024 9:56 AM


ConVal School District attorney Dean Eggert answered questions from School Board members regarding the upcoming withdrawal feasibility studies at Tuesday night’s meeting.  

On March 12, voters rejected a warrant article proposing the district make changes to  the 1967 Articles of Agreement, which would have paved the way for possible school closures in Dublin, Francestown, Temple and Bennington. Both Francestown and Dublin passed warrant articles at Town Meeting requesting feasibility studies for withdrawal from the ConVal School District, and the Temple Select Board is considering calling a special Town Meeting to consider seeking a feasibility regarding withdrawal, as well.  

Eggert,  after a routine overview of the responsibilities of elected School Board members, opened to the floor to questions about the feasibility studies. School Board member Alan Edelkind of Dublin, chair of the Strategic Organization Committee, which led the reconfiguration study process, asked if towns can withdraw from district, but not from SAU 1. 

“Right now, the SAU consists of a single school district, which is the ConVal School District. If towns were to withdraw and have their own districts, there could be multiple districts within the SAU,” Eggert said. “It is a question whether there would need to be a separate study about withdrawing from the SAU.” 

Edelkind asked whether towns could “partially withdraw” from the ConVal district.

“For example, could they withdraw at the elementary level, but not at the high school level?” Edelkind asked. 

Eggert responded that a partial withdrawal “was possible in theory, but would be very complicated.”

Edelkind then asked whether students could tuition back into ConVal after withdrawal, and Eggert responded that it was an option.

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“The big question when a town withdraws from a district is ‘Where will the students go’?” Eggert said. “In some cases,  the town can end up paying more after withdrawal if they tuition back in. I have seen cases where the town could not find anywhere  for their students to go after withdrawal, because no other district would take them in. In that case, they end up finding placements for students on an ad hoc basis.” 

Eggert advised School Board members to research the effect withdrawal has had on other New Hampshire towns. 

“The withdrawal process in general has been of concern to the New Hampshire Legislature, because it tends to be frustrating for the both the towns and the school districts, and that is because the towns and the school districts have different concerns,” Eggert said. “Typically, withdrawal has been sold as something that will create tax savings. I would encourage you to look at the data on whether or not withdrawals have resulted in tax savings of towns or not.” 

The ConVal Feasibility Study Committee is scheduled to meet for the first time on April 25 at 7 p.m. in the SAU conference room.