Casco board endorses Crooked River School project

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Grant Plummer led the charge to support renovations to the Crooked River School, and to give the Songo Locks Elementary School students and teachers some breathing room.

After all, the elementary school is overcrowded; the well-water system can barely keep up with peak usage; the parking lot is a danger zone; the portables outside the school have reached their half-life; and the school district cannot even consider budgeting for pre-kindergarten classes because there is no space, according to Plummer.

“I will tip my hat to the administration at the school for their extraordinary efforts” to work around these issues, he said.

Plummer spoke in support of the district doing the proposed renovations to the Crooked River School so it can accommodate third, fourth and fifth graders from Songo Locks School.

“It is time. It is time,” Plummer said.

The School Administrative District (SAD) No. 61 referendum to repurpose the Crooked River School in Casco failed to pass in early December.

Since then, the SAD 61 school board reduced the project by about $2 million. Among the changes, a small theater was nixed and a raised stage was added to the gymnasium.

The public will weigh in again — this time on a less costly renovation project — during a second referendum. The polling date is Tuesday, April 12.

During the Casco Board of Selectmen meeting on Tuesday, Plummer rallied the backing of other board members to promote the vote in favor of repurposing the school.

After some discussion, all five selectmen were in agreement that the Town of Casco would officially endorse the referendum and also do its part in actively promoting it.

The Town of Casco will provide as much public notice as possible to support a ‘yes’ vote for the Crooked River School.

Chairman Holly Hancock suggested sending mailings to residents. Also, the marquee on Meadow Road near Town Hall will have a message, telling people to support the renovations of the elementary school in their town.

According to Casco Town Manager Dave Morton, with the selectmen’s approval, the marquee can be used to urge people how to vote. With the sanction of the selectmen, the marquee message can take a stand on a certain issue.

For Plummer, who volunteers at Songo Locks and has children in that school, time is of the essence for this construction project.

“As time clicks away, there are these big structures that we will need to reinvest in. I don’t want it to get to the point of $20 million (repairs/expansions) at three schools,” he said.

“My hope is that we would vote to support the Crooked River School” renovations, he said.

“It is the only project with a long-term solution,” Plummer said.

Please follow and like us: