Regional School Unit 3 officials are working with member's of Palermo's withdrawal committee to draft language that would establish RSU 3 as the “school of record” for the town.

Heather Perry, RSU 3 superintendent, said the district was approached by the withdrawal committee to discuss the possibility of the district serving as the school of record for the town in September. During the September meeting, school board members approved becoming the school of record for Palermo with the contract language to be approved at a later date.

Palermo is attempting to withdraw from RSU 12, which includes the towns of Alna, Chelsea, Somerville, Westport Island, Whitefield, Windsor and Wiscasset.

Perry said Wiscasset is Palermo's school of record, despite the fact that the majority of the students in the town attend Erskine Academy. Perry explained that the state requires documentation from the town that it has a public school of record that would accept its students.

Even if RSU 3 and Palermo sign an agreement, Perry said taxpayers in RSU 3 would not pick up the tab for students in Palermo. She said Palermo would be responsible for all costs associated with RSU 3 educating any of its students.

Perry also noted that Palermo is not asking to join RSU 3 — the town only needs to provide documentation to the state that its students would have access to public education.

Transportation contract services

During a public hearing regarding the proposed 2013-2014 school budget, board members were asked if the district could save any money by contracting with a third party to provide transportation services for the district.

Perry said since that suggestion was made, the district has begun the process of drafting a request for proposal to bring the board to potentially look at contracting with a third party transportation service. If the district were to sign a contract with a company to provide transportation services, Perry said the district could save money because the district would not have to pay the costs of maintaining the buses or the administrative infrastructure in place to manage the district's transportation.

However, Perry said if the district chooses to pursue a contract with a third party there are some disadvantages. Those disadvantages deal primarily with the fact that RSU 3 would lose control over some aspects of its transportation services. When asked what the district would lose control over, Perry said the district wouldn't have control over which fuel vendor is selected.

A draft request for proposal is expected to be brought before the school board along with a recommendation from the transportation committee during the board's Nov. 12 meeting.

School closure

Perry said the board is also beginning preliminary efforts to gather information regarding possibly closing a school. Two years ago, the board discussed closing Monroe Elementary School because the school's population could have been absorbed into Morse Memorial School, Perry said.

Perry stressed that the board is in an information gathering stage at this time.

“It's not something that's going to happen lickety-split,” Perry said.

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