The Regional School Unit (RSU) 20 Board of Directors approved proposals from the six former School Administrative District 34 towns Tuesday night, March 26, moving the process that much closer to taking the proposals to the voters in those communities in June.

The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting originally stated the directors would consider only the proposal pertaining to the city of Belfast, but the 17 directors in attendance voted in favor of adjusting the agenda to also include consideration of agreements for Belmont, Searsmont, Morrill, Northport and Swanville.

Belfast Withdrawal Committee attorney Kristin Collins said she and members of the committee have been working with RSU 20 lawyer Dick Spencer since November to draft the Belfast proposal, which she said served as a model for the other five towns.

“At this point I think we are in a very good place in terms of reaching agreement,” she said.

Collins said in order to get the withdrawal issue before voters for the June primary, the Board would have to take action on the proposals Tuesday night. Elections can be very expensive for towns, she said, and getting the withdrawal question to voters in June would save towns the added expense of a special election, because there is already a primary election as well as the school budget validation vote scheduled at that time.

“Beyond that, we have a turnout threshold,” noted Collins.

At the last regular Board meeting, Belfast Withdrawal Committee Vice Chairman Steven Hutchings said the initial withdrawal approval from voters requires a turnout of 50 percent of those who voted in the last gubernatorial election. Also at the last meeting, RSU 20 Superintendent Brian Carpenter explained that all six towns must approve the withdrawal proposals in June, and all must vote to come together as a new school district at a vote that will likely take place in November. Otherwise, Carpenter said, the withdrawal effort would be nullified.

Carpenter said there were some monetary amounts that needed to be included in the proposals for the five towns besides Belfast to reflect financial aspects of each document, which would address issues such as the reimbursements on roof improvements made to the former Robertson school building, which the district now leases to Sweetser Services, and the addition of the portable classroom to the Ames School building in Searsmont.

“We will put that in before anybody signs it,” said Carpemter.

Once those figures are included in the proposals, Board Chairman Tony Bagley would sign off on each agreement and forward them to the state Department of Education for consideration. That process could take up to 30 days, Bagley explained at the last meeting.

“This is not a vote on withdrawal, this is a vote on the proposals between the towns,” said Carpenter.