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September 29. 2013 8:03PM

Concord, Deerfield school contract talks continue

DEERFIELD — With the high school sending contract between Deerfield and Concord set to expire tonight at midnight, officials will meet thoughout the day to see if they can hammer out a new agreement.

Members of both school boards and district officials will meet at the Concord SAU building to see if a new 10-year contract can be worked out.

"If an agreement is not worked out before midnight, that by no means eliminates Concord as an option for Deerfield," Deerfield School Board member Donald Gorman said.

Concord School Board member Nick Metalious agreed, saying, "I don't think you can ever say never in a situation like this."

Deerfield is currently only negotiating with Concord, but other schools are still on the table, said Gorman.

"We are negotiating with Concord as we speak, but everything is subject to change. It is a very fluid situation that is still all up in the air. All schools are on the table right now even though we are not negotiating with other schools at the moment," Gorman said.

Gorman said Deerfield still holds Concord in high esteem.

"No question Concord is one of the best districts in the state. It has had a good working relationship with Deerfield. It is an excellent situation and excellent school, however, with anything else it is supply and demand and there are other schools out there needing students we have had preliminary negotiations with," he said.

Gorman would not say what other districts have been approached by Deerfield.

If an agreement is not worked out by midnight, officials from both sides said it would not affect the current 200 or so Deerfield high school students enrolled at Concord.

"Under the present contract, if the contract is terminated there is a three year phase out, so kids that are in (Concord) now, this present class, they would stay and graduate from Concord," Gorman said.

"The contract with Concord has worked well over the last 10 years, but we have discovered things we would like to have changed during that time, and I am sure they have found things as well, and now we are at a point of readjusting the present contract," Gorman said.

The current situation started roughly two and half years ago when the Deerfield board became aware that, due to shrinking enrollment at high schools around the state, there were many districts in the surrounding areas who might be interested in taking Deerfield students.

"So from a business point of view, we went shopping. I guess you could sum it up that way," Gorman said.

Despite shopping around, Gorman said that Concord was never kept out of the loop and was never ruled out as an option.

"They gave us a heads up (they were going to do this), we have been talking back and forth and it will all come to a head (today)," Metalious said.

"While I am not on the negotiations committee, from what I hear and what I understand things are going very well. No bickering, no he said she said type of stuff. I don't know if an agreement will be hammered out, I have no idea. I would like to see one though, but that is my own personal opinion and hope. But that is up to the negotiation committee for both districts."

Gorman said there have been a lot of unfounded rumors making there way through town, including one circulating indicating that the district will leave Concord for the Pembroke School District.

"The number of rumors running around, ever since we started this process is just unbelievable. I mean we could go (to Pembroke), there are no absolutes at this point," Gorman said.

bklein@newstote.com


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