EUSTIS — Residents voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to withdraw from SAD 58, according to Selectman Jay Wyman.

The vote was 213-6, he said.

“It was a long, drawn-out process,” Wyman said, adding there was some hesitation in the beginning but the effort gained steady momentum.

He said people were getting tired of being threatened by the district to have the Stratton Elementary School in Eustis closed or the budget cut.

“It just took off,” Wyman said, noting that in his 25 years as a selectman, he has never seen this kind of positive support from what he called a “most dedicated committee.”

According to Wyman, the new school district should incur little if any additional cost and may even save money if it retains some current out-of-district students and the tuition that comes with them.

In the near future, Wyman said he looks forward to seeing the results presented to the state and the formation of a new school board.

Not all were happy with the vote.

“This is going to cost people more than they think,” fire Chief Malcom Fearon said Tuesday night. He said the small number of opponents to the withdrawal were quiet.

SAD 58 directors and the Eustis withdrawal committee developed a plan that was approved by Maine Department of Education Commissioner Steven Bowen last month. They have agreed that Eustis will pay a 5 percent increase over the state’s annual reimbursement rate to the district. They also have established all necessary financial agreements, including Stratton Elementary School debt service payments, staff contracts and a $28,000 payment for each special education student.

Now that the withdrawal plan is approved, five school board members must be chosen. Those directors will ask voters to go to the polls June 13 to approve the final 2013-2014 financial proposal.

If withdrawal plans are approved at the vote, five school board candidates must be chosen on May 28. Those directors will ask voters to go to the polls once again on June 13 to approve the final 2013-2014 financial proposal. Candidate nomination papers for school board seats will be available at the town office until May 13.


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