Freeport's RSU 5 withdrawal plan gets state OK

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FREEPORT — The Maine Department of Education has conditionally approved the town’s proposed agreement for withdrawal from Regional School Unit 5, bringing the action one step closer to a Nov. 4 referendum.

The RSU 5 board on July 30 accepted the plan that would allow Freeport to withdraw from the school unit it shares with Durham and Pownal. It was approved by Education Commissioner James Rier last week.

The RSU 5 board of directors will hold a special meeting Aug. 14 at 6:30 p.m. to hear public comment and to discuss setting a date for a formal public hearing. Holding the public hearing is a requirement outlined in the state’s withdrawal statute; it is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 26.

RSU 5 was formed in 2009. Residents voted last December to begin the withdrawal process. If the withdrawal is approved in November, it would take affect July 1, 2015.

The agreement states that “educational continuity” will be provided for all students in the RSU 5. Freeport agrees to take students who would have been enrolled in a Freeport school under RSU 5 for the 2015-2016 school year for the remainder of time they have left in school.

For students and parents not wishing to stay enrolled in Freeport, there is also the possibility of being able to attend Brunswick schools.

If the withdrawal proposal is defeated in November, the RSU 5 will remain unchanged.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.