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Meredith will not seek withdrawal study from IL

May 19, 2010
MEREDITH — Meredith Selectmen said they will not seek withdrawal from the Inter-Lakes School District and will instead pursue avenues of discussion with neighboring towns.

Resident Mark Flanders made a motion at town meeting advising the Board of Selectmen to examine the option of withdrawing from the district. The motion was brought by petition a week after a series of controversial decisions were made at the school district meeting that many Meredith residents said were determined by Sandwich voters.

The School Board and Meredith's Board of Selectmen attended an information session on May 5 on withdrawal procedures and law presented by Barrett Cristina of the New Hampshire School Boards Association.

"It was very clear to me that the process is extremely complicated and not an easy one to fulfill," said Board of Selectman Chair Chuck Palm.

Palm raised the issues of the town having to pay for the school buildings still in town as well as the town being subject to potential litigation as one other town has gone through.

"I'm not sure that's the avenue we want to go down by any means," Palm said.

Selectman Miller Lovett said if the town withdraws, it could potentially be looking at significant money loss with no financial gain.

Selectman Peter Brothers said the initial motion was for the town to look at all the options, including withdrawal. Flanders also said during the May 5 meeting that his motion was advisory only and nonbinding, a fact selectmen emphasized.

Brothers said there were many charged emotions that evening that could have since cooled down.

Selectmen said they have received many inquiries from residents on when they are going to take action on the motion.

"It's a complex if not highly difficult maneuver to maybe solutions and other options that would be much more appropriate, less time consuming, less costly, and less divisive," Brothers said, saying as the board learned more information about withdrawal, "it became quite clear as the night came to a close that (withdrawal) as an option might not be the best solution."

Brothers said the better solution would be to start a dialogue with the Boards of Selectmen in Sandwich and Center Harbor and talk to members of the communities.

Selectman Nate Torr agreed, also citing the difficulty of leaving a cooperative school district.

Selectmen collectively advised Town Manager Phil Warren to get in contact with Inter-Lakes Superintendent Phil McCormack and the other Boards of Selectmen to discuss other ways to resolve conflicts and issues.

Varney Smith
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