KINGFIELD — Voters on Thursday turned down a citizens’ petition proposal to explore leaving Regional School Unit 58.

The vote was 69-107, according to Administrative Assistant Leanna Targett.

A citizens’ petition was presented to selectmen several months ago, asking them to explore options if the town left the four-town district. A separate ad hoc citizens’ committee also met several times to listen to public concerns about the town’s increasing share of the financial costs to support the district and the potential for more local control if the town went on its own.

A lightly-attended public informational meeting and formal public hearing, both hosted by selectmen, offered voters another chance to ask what a yes vote would mean to taxpayers. Selectmen explained that a 22-step process was required by the Maine Department of Education before selectmen could appoint a committee for negotiations with the district.

Thursday’s warrant article also asked voters for authorization to spend up to $20,000 to pay expenses if voters approved exploring withdrawal.

“I am pleased that the community of Kingfield is willing to work with the system to seek solutions to any concerns they have,” Superintendent Susan Pratt said. “I plan to reach out to see that the community voices of all the towns are heard as we work to seek solutions for a school system we are once again proud of.”

RSU 58 includes the towns of Avon, Kingfield, Phillips and Strong.

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