Durham overwhelmingly rejects leaving Regional School Unit 5

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DURHAM — Residents gave Regional School Unit 5 some badly needed stability Friday, voting by a wide margin against pursuing withdrawal from the school unit.

On the same day news broke that Superintendent of Schools Ed McDonough would resign at the end of the school year, the town voted 595-259 against leaving the district.

The School Board can now begin its search for a new superintendent – who would be the fourth in as many years – minus the distraction of negotiating withdrawal.

The vote marked the second time in four years that Durham has considered withdrawal and decided against it. Freeport residents also defeated withdrawal in a close vote in November 2014.

In municipal elections, meanwhile, incumbents held sway. Jeff Wakeman, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, easily won re-election with 500 votes. Incumbent Selectman Mark Blake finished second in the four-way race for two seats with 388 votes. Challengers Wade Caplinger and Max Harvey Garcia trailed with 217 and 121 votes, respectively.

There were three open seats for the Budget Committee. Incumbent Kevin Nadeau, the only declared candidate, received 671 votes. Write-in candidates Mark Farrin had 62 votes and Rick Emmons, 57 votes.

RSU 5 Chairwoman Michelle Ritcheson, unchallenged for her seat on the School Board Durham shares with Freeport and Pownal, had 650 votes.

Durham was conducting its annual Town Meeting on Saturday.

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