The elementary school in Stockton Springs has been cleared to host public and municipal functions, though procedures and building updates still need to be addressed.

Voters approved shuttering the mostly unused building in April 2017, and since then, the Regional School Unit 20 Board of Directors has grappled with different options but has not come to any decisions.

The school will "remain under the control of the school board," which can use it as it sees fit, RSU 20 Superintendent Chris Downing said at a July 10 meeting.

While attending the Commissioner's Conference in Augusta this past June, Downing said he met with Deputy Education Commissioner Suzan Beaudoin and Director of School Finance and Operations Joanne Allen about the logistics and legality of having the school facilities available to the public.

As long as the school is not used for K-12 education, directors may decide the use of the facilities, including using the gym for town meetings and benefit suppers, he said.

Downing said the RSU 20 Building and Grounds Committee needs to establish specific procedures concerning the use of the building, including if fees and insurance will be required. Also, according to Downing, the fire alarm system needs to be updated.

The Maine Revised Statutes website (Title 20A, section 4103) says fees collected can be used to cover maintenance costs on the building. A previous Republican Journal article reported the school "… costs the district about $50,000 per year to maintain, including heat, electricity, alarm systems and snow removal."

If the buliding were to be put back into service as an educational institution, the board would need to follow the DOE approval process to reopen, Downing said.

If another town joins RSU 20, one selectman wondered, would the Stockton Springs school be used?

"We would have to consider it," Downing said.

Principal Larry Clemens added, "There's no room at the inn," referring to the current at-capacity enrollment level at Searsport Elementary School.