WINDSOR — Windsor will become the fourth town to try to withdraw from Regional School Unit 12.

Windsor residents voted 193-21 to start the long process of exiting the Somerville-based district, which also includes Alna, Chelsea, Palermo, Wesport Island, Whitefield and Wiscasset.

RSU 12 Acting Superintendent Patricia Watts said she’s disappointed by the results because she thinks Windsor’s membership in the RSU is beneficial to both the town and the overall district.

“I think we just need to follow the process, and then they have to decide if it’s worth that amount of money to withdraw and be on their own,” Watts said.

The Windsor residents who petitioned for withdrawal said they were unhappy about RSU 12’s new cost-sharing method, which is expected to raise Windsor’s school taxes significantly, and a perceived lack of local control over issues such as budget, curriculum, class sizes and hiring.

Now a withdrawal committee must be formed, consisting of one RSU 12 school board member and three Windsor residents to be appointed by the Board of Selectmen, to negotiate an agreement for separating Windsor from RSU 12.

The agreement must address the education of Windsor students, a new administrative structure, outstanding financial commitments, disposition of physical property and other issues. It must be approved by the education commissioner and Windsor residents at another referendum.

Wiscasset and Westport Island both voted to begin withdrawing from RSU 12 last June.

Last week, the RSU 12 school board approved a withdrawal agreement for Wiscasset to become a standalone school administrative unit in July 2014, if the education commissioner and voters approve.

Westport Island is likely to be the next town to submit an agreement to the school board.

Palermo residents voted in December to start negotiating a withdrawal. Like Windsor, Palermo stands to pay significantly more in school taxes due to the new cost-allocation method.

Susan McMillan — 621-5645
[email protected]

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