PORTLAND (AP) – Maine’s highest court Thursday denied an appeal by Frye Island aimed at freeing it from a requirement to support education costs in the school district that includes the town it seceded from a decade ago.

The Supreme Judicial Court upheld a 2005 state law that exempted municipalities in SAD 6 from a new formula the would allocate school district costs in accordance with the percentage of students from each municipality.

Frye Island, which is located in Sebago Lake and used to be part of Standish, shuts down in the winter and sends no children to SAD 6 schools. Therefore, its costs under the new formula would be zero.

The island and three of its residents challenged the 2005 law on constitutional grounds, claiming it violated equal protection guarantees.

In upholding a lower court ruling, the supreme court noted that SAD 44, which includes Newry, also is exempted from the cost-sharing formula. Newry, which is located near the Sunday River ski resort, has many out-of-state property owners and sends few students to SAD 44 schools.

The justices concluded that Frye Island failed to show that there are other towns in a similar situation that get different treatment. And even if there were, the court indicated that providing support for public education is a legitimate state interest that allows the law to pass muster.

AP-ES-02-07-08 1654EST

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