Committees still waiting for Regional School Unit 20 response to withdrawal plan
Belfast — The Regional School Unit 20 withdrawal committees are forced to be patient, as they await word from the district lawyer regarding their plan.
Belfast Attorney Kristin Collins explained to committee members during a meeting Wednesday, Jan. 9, that she has yet to hear back from district attorney Dick Spencer, who received the withdrawal plan about a month ago. Collins said she does not believe the delay is intentional on the part of the attorney or the school board, noting that Spencer is handling multiple withdrawal requests.
Belfast Committee Chairman Eric Sanders questioned if there was anything the committees could do to speed up the process, or if they would be forced to wait until the school board reviews the plan.
“Are we just at the mercy of waiting from the lawyer?” Sanders asked, to which Collins acknowledged that is the issue.
She explained the withdrawal statute does not specify how long a district has to review a withdrawal plan. At this time, Collins said, the delay is reasonable; however, she said if another month passes without any response regarding the plan, then the delay would be unreasonable.
At that point, Collins said, it might be worthwhile to seek help from legislators to apply pressure to move the process along, and to encourage parents and members of the public to ask for the withdrawal plan to be considered.
Alexa Schweikert, Swanville board member, noted that the school board is charged with running the district, and the withdrawal process is not a school board issue.
“I guess we’re looking to the lawyer to call the next step,” Schweikert said, in regard to why the school board has yet to publicly discuss the plan.
Collins said she would continue to contact Spencer to “get the ball rolling,” and she encouraged committee members to attend school board meetings and speak during the public comment portion of the sessions.
Former Superintendent Bruce Mailloux said he would be forming a group, which would include Superintendent Brian Carpenter, Regional School Unit 20 Business Manager Brian MacFarland and Belfast Committee Treasurer Susan Woods, to analyze the financial figures for what a new school district could potentially cost.
Mailloux said the meeting would most likely not be open to the public, but a few committee members may be allowed to attend.
The next withdrawal committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 6:30 p.m. in Belfast City Hall.
Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.