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For Immediate Release

Date: 06/18/11

Arundel, Dayton and Saco can start process to withdraw from RSU earlier than before

AUGUSTA - State Rep. Wayne Parry says Arundel, Dayton and Saco can begin the process of withdrawing from their Regional School Units (RSUs) six months earlier than was previously possible, thanks to legislation that has been signed into law by Gov. LePage.

Beginning January 1, 2012, residents of a municipality that has been a member of an RSU for at least 30 months may petition to withdraw from the unit. The current minimum time is 36 months.

Under the terms of the legislation, LD 139, 10 percent of the number of voters in a municipality who voted in the last gubernatorial election must sign a petition to withdraw from the RSU. Municipal officers will then hold a special election. The petition to withdraw must be approved by secret ballot by a majority of the voters present and voting before it may be presented to the RSU board and the Commissioner of Education.

Rep. Parry (R-Arundel) said the legislative struggle to obtain the six-month reduction began with two bills in the Legislature's Education and Cultural Affairs Committee, both of which were rejected unanimously.

One of these was LD 803, sponsored by Rep. Parry - "An Act To Allow the Town of Dayton To Opt Out of Its Regional School Unit Agreement." A second defeated bill was submitted by State Sen. Nancy Sullivan (D-York) and co-sponsored by Rep. Parry. That measure, LD 1083, was "An Act To Allow the Town of Arundel to Withdraw from Its Regional School Unit without Penalty."

Rep. Parry submitted LD 803 at the request of the Dayton board of selectmen. Subsequently, the city council in Saco voted to support Dayton and requested that Saco be added to the bill. Sen. Sullivan and Rep. Parry submitted LD 1083 for a citizens' group in Arundel.

"The Education Committee didn't want to allow special exemptions," said Rep. Parry. He continued to lobby the panel to change the consolidation law to make it easier for all towns to get out of their RSUs if the residents of those communities wish to withdraw. Ultimately, he was successful.

"This now gives the residents of Arundel, Dayton and Saco the opportunity to start the withdrawal process a little earlier if they wish," said Rep. Parry. ####

Jay Finegan
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 287-1445