VOTERS TURNED OUT Tuesday to decide if Freeport should withdraw from RSU 5. Emma Willman, receiving her “I Voted” sticker, has no family in the school unit, but has been following the story on the news. “I just think we haven’t been able to do the best for our kids,” she said after submitting her ballot.

VOTERS TURNED OUT Tuesday to decide if Freeport should withdraw from RSU 5. Emma Willman, receiving her “I Voted” sticker, has no family in the school unit, but has been following the story on the news. “I just think we haven’t been able to do the best for our kids,” she said after submitting her ballot.

FREEPORT

The town will move forward with withdrawing from Regional School Unit 5 after residents voted in favor the measure Tuesday.

The vote to begin withdrawal procedures passed 953 to 768 with voter turnout at 27 percent — high for a midweek, off-year, localonly ballot held in part during a snowstorm.

The referendum has drawn hot debate since last June, when a bond to renovate Freeport High School failed on its first try.

“We were pleasantly surprised by the amazing turnout, given that it’s a non-election cycle and the weather,” Charly Haver- sat, spokeswoman for prowithdrawal Moving Freeport Forward, said today.

A four-member Withdrawal Committee will now be formed with one municipal officer, one member from the general public, one member from Moving Freeport Forward and one member from the current school board.

Haversat said Moving Freeport Forward would approach the Town Council with its recommendation later today for which Moving

Freeport Forward member would join the committee. She said the group will continue to work closely with other parties and offer support throughout the withdrawal process.

A disagreement has arisen over the potential costs of Freeport forming a standalone school district. A cost analysis written by Charles Lawson, a financial consultant, and Jack Turcotte, a former school superintendent evaluated the additional cost to taxpayers at $1.6 million. An independent analysis by members of Moving Freeport Forward estimated that Freeport may actually see a cost reduction of $170,000 as a standalone district.

Freeport’s move to splinter RSU 5 comes a year after Durham voters rejected a similar measure in the face of operating costs that would have been higher as an independent school district.

It’s the second time in a month a Mid-coast town voted to bolt a regional school district: Wiscasset voters endorsed the town’s departure from Regional School Unit 12 in November.

[email protected]timesrecord.com


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: