Many residents of Freeport, Durham and Pownal lined up to the podium July 30 at Freeport High School to offer their opinions on the issue of Freeport’s possible withdrawal from Regional School Unit 5. Here are some of their comments.

John Simoneau, a member of the Durham Advisory Committee that worked with the RSU 5 Working Group: “It seems the Withdrawal Committee is doing everything it can to make this high school smaller.” Simoneau also asked why the discussions did not include the formation of an Alternative Organizational Structure, a school unit that has a looser governing arrangement among member towns.

Jerry Kennedy of Freeport said that votes that have taken place in the past six years in RSU 5 have been “a disservice to everybody.”

Susan Karnes of Durham said there is no urgency for a November withdrawal vote, and that rushing into an agreement “could be disastrous.”

Eric Horne of Freeport said that a November vote is important because of the state law that requires 50 percent turnout of the last gubernatorial election. “This is not rushing anything. You’ve been at this for months.”

Shari Broder of Freeport, among those who gathered signatures that led to last December’s vote to explore withdrawal, said the divide in the three towns is clear. “It’s the same divide that we have dealt with on every budget, on the referendum for the school (renovation) and so forth.”

Sarah Tracy, Freeport town councilor, said that it’s “a fair compromise when everybody walks out unhappy. I can’t underscore how important it is to get this out to a vote in November.” Freeport has been paying legal fees for the Withdrawal Committee and some of the legal fees for the Working Group as well, Tracy noted.

Ed Bradley of Freeport said this has been a “difficult, thorny problem. I don’t know how I’m going to vote, but it’s very important to vote.”

Laurie Poissonnier of Durham said she spent 18 months helping put together the agreement that led to the formation of RSU 5, and Brunswick is not yet the school of guaranteed acceptance.

– Larry Grard

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