EMBDEN — The town is moving ahead with plans to withdraw from School Administrative District 74 after residents approved the formation of an official withdrawal committee Tuesday.

In a referendum, the residents also authorized the town to spend up to $50,000 for legal fees and to pay withdrawal committee members as they follow the Department of Education’s 22-step process for withdrawal from a school district. The referendum passed 120-20, according to Town Clerk Bonnie Baker. There are 731 registered voters in Embden.

The vote Tuesday is nonbinding, which means residents will have a chance to review negotiations with the district school board and the Department of Education before casting a final vote on withdrawal.

Meantime, the town is required to submit the results of Monday’s vote to the district board of directors and the state commissioner of education. A four-member withdrawal committee will be appointed “as soon as possible,” according to First Selectman Chuck Taylor.

“It’s all speculation from there,” Taylor said. “It depends on how quickly things get turned around from the commissioner and our lawyer. It’s quite a process, and there’s a lot of work to do.”

Embden has been considering withdrawal from the school district, which also includes Anson, New Portland and Solon, since March. The movement originated from complaints taxpayers had related to the state’s Essential Programs and Services funding model, which bases the amount of local school taxes raised on property values. According to the district, Embden is paying $1.3 million in state required local taxes in 2015-2016. The town currently enrolls 111 students. Meanwhile, Anson is being asked to pay $1 million in required local taxes and enrolls 331 students.

Anson also pays the most in additional local tax dollars, the amount of money that the district asks residents to raise in addition to the amount required by the state’s EPS formula.

On Thursday the SAD 74 Board of Directors also met and discussed an ongoing review of local additional cost sharing and whether Embden’s share of additional local could be reduced. School Board Chairman Robert Demchak said the board is in the process of forming a committee to explore cost sharing between the towns.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

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Twitter: @rachel_ohm