Voters in Freeport will go to the polls Tuesday to decide whether the town will formally explore withdrawal from the regional school district that includes the neighboring towns of Pownal and Durham.

The vote is the result of a campaign by a small but organized group of parents in Freeport who gathered hundreds of signatures to initiate the withdrawal process. The group, Moving Freeport Forward, says that Pownal and Durham have repeatedly disagreed about appropriate school funding levels, and that a district with only Freeport would bring back local control of education, improve course offerings and increase the school department’s flexibility.

The group says that since the state forced districts to consolidate starting in 2009, the promised financial savings never have materialized, and districts that refused to join others have not been punished.

If Freeport voters decide Tuesday to explore withdrawal, a committee will begin a multi-step process to negotiate the future of the schools after a potential split. A four-member committee would begin negotiating what a separated district would look like, including educational plans for students from Pownal and Durham who attend the schools.

If a withdrawal plan is approved by the state, a second, final referendum would be held.


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