AURORA, Maine&nbsp- The first time the seven-member Airline School Consolidation Committee voted on regionalization they unanimously voted to join with the Ellsworth school system.

But once residents began questioning why, the CSD 8 board voted to nullify the committee’ s recommendation, and send out fliers asking residents in the school system’ s four towns what they thought.

But then another problem arose when some residents questioned the wording of the flier.

The circular was fairly routine in asking residents of Amherst, Aurora, Great Pond and Osborn to check a box next to the community they favored CSD 8 joining — Brewer or Ellsworth.

But the flier added: “We decided to go with the Ellsworth group due to the multiple small school makeup of the group, our chance to have a vote on the new school board and the polite and cooperative nature of our talks.

“None of these things we had with our talks to the Brewer group,” it stated.

That final statement is a lie, said Carter Jones, an Amherst resident and Airline School Consolidation Committee alternate. He said he’ s been to the Brewer consolidation meetings and met with Brewer officials and they have always been honest and accommodating.

Department of Education officials have suggested that CSD 8 join together with Brewer, Dedham, Orrington and SAD 63 to create Regional School Unit 15 under the state’ s new school consolidation law.

After more than a year of meetings, the Airline School Consolidation Committee, which is a 12-member panel formed by one town leader, one resident and one school board member from each town, narrowed the list to two choices — Brewer and RSU 15 or Ellsworth and RSU 7.

Jones spent the weekend of July 12-13 on a mission to discover what his neighbors thought about consolidation.

“I got 200 signatures, which is basically the whole population of the four towns, stating they are all for Brewer,” he said.

Jones turned over the resident signatures to interim Superintendent Dave Anderson on July 14. At the CSD 8 board’ s July 17 meeting, it was announced that 80 residents returned their fliers, and by a 42-38 vote supported going with Brewer. At that meeting, Jones asked for the resignation of three school board members who are consolidation committee members and who he said wrote the “misleading” flier.

Calls on Wednesday to CSD 8 board chairman Les Hutchinson and board member Joe Lacerda, who both sit on the consolidation committee, were not returned.

Last weekend Jones took it upon himself to travel the local area in a blue van that was painted with an apology to the Brewer area about the flier’ s wording.

Neil Butler, first selectman in Amherst, said everyone he’ s talked to supports “continuing going west” to Brewer but “everything that is coming out of the [consolidation] committee is south” to Ellsworth.

“That doesn’ t make sense,” he said. “The information coming out is extremely biased. They were not listening to the people.”

When discussing the flier, Butler laughed and said, “The only way you could be more prejudiced or biased is to pre-check the box. It’ s absolutely absurd.”

The real issue — the only issue — is providing the best education available to the communities’ children, Butler and Jones said.

Phil Deckers, Amherst selectmen and consolidation committee member, said there is little reason to partner with Ellsworth when most of the students choose to go to high school in Brewer or Bangor.

“We have 30 years of dealing with John Bapst [Memorial High School in Bangor] and Brewer and never had any repercussions from that,” he said. In the Bangor-Brewer area, “there is more voc-tech stuff, college-orientated stuff and sports.”

Keeping the small Airline Community School in Aurora open, keeping finances low and safely transporting the high school students to the school of their choice are other issues associated with the regional school unit decision, said Jones, Butler and Deckers.

Each RSU’ s reorganization plan must be submitted to the state by Dec. 15 to allow for public hearings to be held in December and early January before the “thumbs up or thumbs down” community vote on the consolidation plans.

Jones said he will be at tonight’ s RSU 15 meeting at 6:30 in the Brewer High School cafeteria.