BAR HARBOR — If a consolidated middle school would make sense for students in the Mount Desert Island Regional School System (MDIRSS), why not a combined K-8 school, asked two members of the MDIRSS board.
Based on feedback from the individual elementary school committees, the MDIRSS board last week asked Superintendent Howard Colter to lead a full-blown study of options for improving middle-school education, including creating a consolidated middle school.
Eric Henry, a board member from Southwest Harbor, said a single school for all K-8 students also should be considered.
“I think that would have an educational benefit for all grades,” he said. “And you would probably also save some money. You could get rid of all the empty buildings.”
John Brown, a board member representing Mount Desert, said he agreed. He said a consolidated middle school would leave all of the elementary schools, except for Conners-Emerson in Bar Harbor, with very small enrollments.
But initially, at least, the focus of deliberations will be on what if any changes to make regarding the middle school grades. Colter said he plans to form a study committee of teachers, principals, school board members and interested community members, which likely will get to work in the fall.
“It is clear to me that [middle school] consolidation is one option, but there are others, too,” Colter said.