New Committee to Discuss Future of Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School Agreement

YARMOUTH – A new joint committee between the towns of Dennis and Yarmouth has been established to review their regional school agreement and to make recommendations for potential improvements.

The ten-member committee includes two selectmen from each town and two members of each town’s finance committee, in addition to two school committee members, one from Dennis and the other from Yarmouth.

Committee Chairman, Dennis Selectman Cleon Turner, explained their goals, “We are essentially going to look at what the current status of the agreement is and perhaps amended the agreement so that the two partners can and have a friendlier, shall we say, agreement for the regional school district.”

The agreement and the district’s budget have been a cause of contention in each town for years and the goal of the committee is to search for greater efficiency and determine how regionalization can best serve all involved.

Issues within the municipalities have had less to do with the budget in and of itself, but are rather driven by what each town deems their own fair share to be.

The regionalization agreement, as it stands is based on enrollment from each town and has led to wide fluctuations in a member town’s financial obligation to the district. Leading, in recent years, to a higher bill for Yarmouth.

The current discord makes life tricky for school officials as well, with their expenses consistently the subject of a public back and forth between the towns.

In their first meeting last week, the new committee voted Turner to serve as the group’s chairman, while Yarmouth Selectmen Michael Stone was elected vice-chair.

In years past the towns have considered a split, officials from both Dennis and Yarmouth have said that that option is not currently on the table.

“Realistically, that is not an option,” said Turner, “Deregionalization would be dramatically more expensive for both towns, it is not economically viable.”

The school district is currently looking into a major capital project a Mattacheese Middle school in Yarmouth and concerns about the state of the Wixon 4th and 5th grade school in Dennis have arisen as well. Turner says that the committee will certainly look into how a new agreement would handle facilities in the future, particularly if school officials opt to move to a single middle school.

The current plan essentially leaves each town in charge of maintaining the buildings within their borders while leasing them to the regional school district.

The new committee, which meets weekly, has no strict time-table for delivering their recommendations to the towns, but Turner says he hopes to have something to present “as soon as possible.”


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