BUCKFIELD — The committee tasked with negotiating the town’s withdrawal from RSU 10 canceled its meeting Wednesday evening because it lacked a quorum.

Chairman Glen Holmes said two of the four committee members were unable to attend. Judy Berg, an original withdrawal petitioner, is out of town, and Jerry Wiley, who represents the RSU 10 Board of Directors, opted to attend his grandchild’s holiday play, Holmes said.

The committee has received no responses to an advertisement for qualified assistance drafting a withdrawal proposal, Holmes said.

Members voted to advertise the position at their meeting two weeks ago, after Holmes and committee member Cheryl Coffman argued that the committee did not have the legal or analytical expertise to come up with a detailed proposal it can bring into negotiations with RSU 10.

According to Holmes, the advertisement was only posted once, in the Sunday, Dec. 8, issue of the Lewiston Sun Journal. He said the committee will not post the advertisement again.

If there are still no responses by the time the committee meets again in mid-January, it may ask firms or individuals who have worked with other towns that have gone through the withdrawal process to help, Holmes predicted.


In June, Buckfield voters approved a measure to establish the committee and negotiate the town’s withdrawal from the 12-town RSU 10 and gave the committee a $20,000 budget.

Organizers, whose petition put the issue on the ballot, said education costs have increased since the town joined the school district in 2009 without comparable improvement in the quality of education.

The committee is responsible for negotiating an agreement with RSU 10 to leave the district and has discussed options such as paying tuition for students to attend neighboring districts or turning Buckfield Junior-Senior High School into a K-12 school.

Committee members have until March 4 to come up with a plan and negotiate an agreement with RSU 10 and submit it to the state’s education commissioner, although it is likely the committee will receive an extension if it applies.

The subject of the committee’s timeline has divided its members. Holmes argues it should complete its work quickly and effectively, while Berg has said it is a process that could take years to accomplish.

If the committee manages to reach an agreement with the RSU 10 board, its departure from the school district would not be final until voters approve it by a two-thirds majority and it receives final approval from the Maine Department of Education.


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