BYRON — Residents will decide whether to begin steps to withdraw from RSU 10 when they gather for the annual town meeting at 6 p.m. March 12 at the Coos Canyon Schoolhouse.
Selectman Anne Simmons-Edmunds said she believes the 120 residents are paying too much to educate the nearly 24 children who attend schools in RSU 10.
“We are fed up with the amount of taxes we have to pay for the number of students we have,” she said.
She said Byron pays just over $200,000 in school taxes. She, and the dozen or so people who signed the petition to bring the issue to voters, believe it would be less expensive to pay to send them to private schools such as Holy Savior Catholic School in Rumford or Gould Academy in Bethel.
She said those two schools aren't the only options, but something to start with.
“We want to save money,” she said, adding that she and others have been watching the progress of a similar withdrawal procedure currently happening in Wiscasset. “We have no control over our school taxes.”
Former Selectman Bruce Simmons circulated the petition, then presented it to the Board of Selectmen.
One of the 34 articles to go before residents Monday asks for about $1,500 to go into a legal fund, if voters decide to withdraw from RSU 10. Simmons-Edmunds said the town already has several thousand dollars in a legal fund that could also be used.
If a majority of residents vote Monday to withdraw, Simmons-Edmunds said the next steps would include contacting a lawyer and the RSU 10 Board of Directors.
“We'll take it one step at a time,” she said.
Residents will also elect a new selectman and treasurer, and possibly a new town clerk/tax collector. Town Clerk Cindy Kelley said Selectman Linda Gallant has decided not to seek another term, as has Treasurer Suzanne Noyes. Kelly said she isn't sure yet whether she'll run again.
All municipal officers are nominated and elected from the floor.
If all articles are passed, Simmons-Edmunds said the municipal budget would be about $130,000, up $10,000 from the budget adopted in 2011.
She said the Houghton Bridge must be replaced, and the town wants to do some road work this year.