Date set for five-town withdrawal plan discussion with state

By Ben Holbrook | May 21, 2014

Regional School Unit 20 officials, withdrawal committee representatives and attorneys are scheduled to meet with the Maine Department of Education to discuss the creation of a five-town withdrawal plan.

Belfast attorney Kristin Collins said the meeting, which was originally scheduled for May 15, will be held Wednesday, May 28, at the Maine DOE office in Augusta.

Collins said the meeting will not be open to the public because there will not be a quorum of withdrawal committee members present.

She previously said that each withdrawal committee in Belfast, Belmont, Morrill, Searsmont and Swanville would select one representative to attend the meeting.

During a meeting of the RSU 20 board in April, Superintendent Brian Carpenter briefly discussed the upcoming meeting with state officials. He had said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of creating a plan that would allow the five towns — Belfast, Belmont, Morrill, Searsmont and Swanville — to leave the district.

The terms of that agreement, according to Carpenter, would be similar to the plan approved when those towns attempted to leave the district in 2013.

Carpenter also previously said the agreement would contain a contingency that requires all five of the towns to vote to withdraw and to reform as a new district or the effort will fail.

Collins previously told The Republican Journal a vote to leave RSU 20 would occur in November of this year, and a vote to reform would either take place in December 2014 or January 2015.

The new five-town district would then take effect as of July 1, 2015.

Because Northport is pursuing its own options for withdrawal the town will be subject to a separate negotiation process. Searsport and Stockton Springs, which are also looking at withdrawal, will not need to attend the May meeting.

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Ben Holbrook
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Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.

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