Belmont votes to join Belfast withdrawal plan

By Ben Holbrook | Feb 13, 2013

Belmont — Belmont committee members voted unanimously to join Belfast’s withdrawal plan during a meeting Monday, Feb. 11.

The vote to join with Belfast means all six of the former School Administrative District 34 towns will present the same withdrawal plan to the state for approval. During a meeting Monday, Feb. 4, committee members were urged by members of Belfast’s committee, as well as residents, to join with Belfast.

If Belmont did not support joining the Belfast withdrawal plan, the plan would have had to be revised to only include Belfast, Morrill, Northport, Searsmont and Swanville.

Belfast attorney Kristin Collins explained to the committee that if they don’t join the Belfast plan early enough, it could mean the town is left to negotiate with RSU 20 on its own. Collins said if the other five towns move forward with their plan that doesn’t include Belmont, she hopes negotiations with the district would be concluded by March.

Because Belmont is the only Regional School Unit 20 town without any facilities, committee members weighed their options for committing to a plan. During the Feb. 4 meeting, Belmont Chairman Aaron Winslow said the committee considered joining the Belfast plan, staying in Regional School Unit 20 and tuitioning students to Belfast schools or to consider a tri-town facility that would serve Belmont, Morrill and Searsmont.

Regional School Unit 20 is on a waiting list to receive funding to construct the tri-town facility, which would serve students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Under the Belfast plan, towns would vote to withdraw in June 2013 with the intent that the effort would take effect July 1, 2014.

Belmont committee members voted 4 to 0 to join the Belfast withdrawal plan.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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