St. George selectmen start school district withdrawal process

Posted Jan. 28, 2013, at 10:40 p.m.

ST. GEORGE, Maine — Selectmen voted unanimously Monday night to begin the process of withdrawing from Regional School Unit 13.

The town education committee had recommended that the town begin the process while also working with the school district in hopes of being able to reach an agreement that would keep St. George part of the school district, which also includes Rockland, Thomaston, Owls Head, South Thomaston and Cushing.

Three months ago, residents voiced concern about the impact of continuing budget cuts on education offered in the district.

Residents held a nonbinding referendum in November in which residents supported continuing with the process of separating from RSU 13.

The first step in formally starting the withdrawal process is launching a petition to collect signatures of residents equal to at least 10 percent of the votes cast by residents in the previous gubernatorial election. If the public approves the withdrawal in a formal vote, a withdrawal committee would have to be created to develop a plan that still would require the state education commissioner’s approval. The town also would have to negotiate with the district on terms of the withdrawal.

Education committee members and selectmen met over the past month with superintendents from two districts: the Five-Town Community School District, made up of Camden, Rockport, Hope, Appleton and Lincolnville; and RSU 40, composed of Union, Warren, Waldoboro, Friendship and Washington. The committee members and selectmen discussed whether those districts could accept the approximately 100 students from St. George. Talks were positive, according to the town.

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