House Bill 349 Establishing a Special Purpose School District for Bridgewater, Hebron and Groton
The Governor recently signed HB 349 into law. This law is called enabling legislation. It grants legal authority to the Towns of Bridgewater, Hebron, and Groton to withdraw from the 7-town Newfound Area School District and establish our own 3-town school district based on a K-8 model.
The creation of our new school district is contingent upon a majority vote in each of our 3 towns at our 2024 annual town or special meeting. If our voters approve, the effective operational date of our new school district is July 1, 2025.
This bill received widespread bi-partisan support in the legislature. It passed unanimously in both the House and Senate. All three state senators representing the 7-town Newfound Area School District voted in favor and voiced strong support in committee hearings.
Such widespread legislative support confirms this excellent concept and a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve education outcomes for our children. Moreover, a smaller tight-knit school district allows greater voter input and control over education curriculum and costs, and shorter bus rides for Groton’s students. Sometimes smaller is better.
The new law sets out a series of sequential steps over the next two years culminating in the July 1, 2025, operational date of the new school district.
The first step requires our Select Boards to appoint a withdrawal committee to begin administrative planning for the new district prior to the 2024 withdrawal adoption vote.
This committee will begin discussions on a draft school budget, preliminary high school tuition agreements, superintendent services, and activities and sports. The goal is to provide as much information as possible to parents and citizens prior to the withdrawal vote.
The next step takes place at our 2024 annual town or special meeting. After the vote by the 3 towns to adopt the provisions of this act, the State Board of Education issues a “certificate of withdrawal” from the Newfound Area School District.
After the withdrawal vote, follow-on steps include a special election for a new 3-town School Board and Budget Committee. The act requires new School Board members to organize promptly “to take any action necessary to carry out the provisions of this law.”
An informed citizenry makes their communities better. Our Select Board will strive to provide you with the knowledge and resources to help you help our community make this new and exciting educational opportunity for our children a reality.
As the process evolves, our selectmen plan to hold “face-to-face” meetings to update you on progress, answer questions, and listen to feedback.
As noted from the outset, our vision is simple: we aspire to improve educational outcomes for our children with an innovative alternative to a traditional Middle School. We strive to do this by fulfilling the provisions of this act to establish our own 3-town school district and reconfiguring the Village District School to a K-8 model.
A smaller tight-knit school district allows greater voter control over education costs and our citizens tax burden. It also provides more intimate input over curriculum and administrative policy, and shorter bus rides for Groton’s students. As noted above, sometimes smaller is better.
Captain, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Hebron Rep. Article V Committee
For more information on HB 349, please review the following position papers linked here: