RSU 14 withdrawal committee gets to work

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RAYMOND — The RSU 14 Withdrawal Committee has appointed its chairman and is beginning to discuss the particulars of its withdrawal agreement. 

The committee – which consists of Selectboard member Rolf Olsen, Selectboard Chairwoman Teresa Sadak, resident Joe Bruno and RSU 14 School Board member Kate Leveille – selected Olsen as its chairman at its first meeting Nov. 14.

The committee met in executive session Dec. 3 “to start to look at what we want in the negotiated separation agreement,” Olsen said.

The district “is doing the same thing on their end,” he said.

The next step is meeting with RSU 14 officials to begin negotiating the terms of an agreement.

Olsen urged residents to remember that “before consolidation, we were a standalone unit, so there’s a lot of history in the town of doing that. We’re not starting this from zero. We were there before.”

Raymond joined Windham to create RSU 14 in 2008.

Sadak said the committee will ask for a 90-day extension since the state mandates that the withdrawal process be completed in 90 days. 

“You can’t get anything done” in that amount of time, Olsen said, so Dan Stockford of the Lewiston-based law firm Brann & Isaacson, who is working with the committee, is requesting the extension.

“This way, it gives us more time to work on the withdrawal agreement and the negotiation of that and making sure we have everything we need to move forward as a standalone school,” Sadak explained.

Sadak said the committee is “definitely looking for participation from the public.”

The committee will hold a workshop for the public to give input on the process and what the future school should look like, although a date has not yet been set, Olsen said.

He encouraged residents to keep up to date with the committee’s process on the Raymond town website, where citizens can view video recordings of meetings as well as written minutes. 

Olsen and Sadak both stressed that the committee is still in its organizational phase and is ensuring the withdrawal process is done well.

“We don’t do it fast, we want to look at every step and make sure everybody’s good,” Sadak said. “Everything’s going to be overwhelming because it’s a big move, but it’s a big move you want to do right.”

Raymond residents voted Aug. 14 to begin the process of withdrawing from RSU 14. Among concerns are district costs and a belief that RSU 14 is not living up to a cost-sharing agreement.

Jane Vaughan can be reached at 780-9103 or at jvaughan@keepmecurrent.com. 

A petition drive in June launched the process for Raymond to withdraw from RSU 14.