BRUNSWICK, Maine — The Brunswick School Board voted Wednesday to become the school of guaranteed acceptance for Regional School Unit 5 students from Durham and Pownal, who may be divorced from Freeport if that town pulls out of the RSU.
A withdrawal agreement between Freeport and members of the RSU 5 Working Group, representing Durham and Pownal, was approved by the Maine Department of Education last week. Freeport residents are expected to vote on withdrawal in November.
In a presentation to the board, Michelle Ritcheson, from the RSU 5 Working Group, said that as a school of guaranteed acceptance, Brunswick would be required to accept any Durham and Pownal students who wished to attend.
Prior to the formation of RSU 5, students from the nearby towns, particularly Durham, attended Brunswick High School.
Freeport High School is willing to accept students from the two towns, Ritcheson said, but it has capped the high school population at 500, citing capacity issues.
Most of the students displaced by Freeport’s withdrawal are expected to come to Brunswick High School, but some could attend other schools in the area, Ritcheson said.
No members of the School Board voiced concern or opposition to the plan.
Previously, Brunswick Superintendent Paul Perzanoski has mentioned that gaining students from neighboring towns could help buttress the school department budget.
Board member Corrine Perreault, who graduated from Brunswick High School, said she had fond memories of going to school with students from Durham.
“I’ve been longing for this to happen, I’m so thrilled for the opportunity to have you guys back,” Perreault said.
Of the seven board members in attendance, six voted in favor of becoming the school of guaranteed acceptance. Board member James Grant abstained.
The decision will still have to be approved by the Town Council.