Standish voters have decided against withdrawing from School Administrative District 6.
Town Clerk Mary Chapman said about 200 residents gathered in the municipal building Tuesday night at a special town meeting to consider whether the town should spend up to $25,000 on a study to determine whether it would be feasible for Standish to withdraw from the district.
Residents defeated the measure in a show of hands, Chapman said. She did not get a specific count.
The $25,000 would have paid for consultants to look at the financial and educational impacts of withdrawing from SAD 6.
The consultants, Ray Poulin and Norm Higgins, are former Maine superintendents who helped implement the school consolidation law passed by the Legislature in 2007. They have recently worked with the town of Wiscasset on withdrawing from Regional School Unit 12.
Standish is the largest town in the district, accounting for more than a third of the enrollment. With 3,777 students, it is the state’s largest regional school district and third largest overall, after Portland and Lewiston.
The district, which has more than 600 employees and an annual budget of $45 million, also serves Buxton, Hollis, Limington and Frye Island. The district sends it students to Bonny Eagle High School.
Frye Island, a summer community with no students in public schools, has been interested in withdrawing from the district for years and recently asked Standish officials to jointly explore that possibility.
Around the same time, Standish town councilors had a disagreement with school board members over how to spend unanticipated state funds.
This fall, Standish sent out a request for proposals, with a $7,500 spending cap, to study the feasibility of withdrawing from the district, but no one responded.
The town then sought out consultants and reached an agreement with Poulin and Higgins to conduct the study if voters approved the $25,000.
Withdrawing from a district requires a 22-step process that includes a petition, a vote to officially start the process, the approval of the education commissioner and a special election.
Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:firstname.lastname@example.org