Richmond High School and Middle School in a photograph taken in November 2019. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file Buy this Photo

If Richmond voters agree for the town to leave Regional School Unit 2, that won’t happen now until July 1, 2022.

Members of the town’s withdrawal committee had been working toward a June 30 deadline to complete a negotiated agreement with the school district to send to the state’s Department of Education for review, but this week it became clear that won’t happen.

A week ago, the withdrawal committee met with members of the school district negotiating team to review what has been done on the proposed exit agreement and outline what information was still needed to complete the document, with more discussion planned for Wednesday.

But committee members were told before Wednesday’s meeting that information wouldn’t be available for two weeks.

Russell Hughes, a member of the withdrawal committee and the vice chairman of the RSU 2 school board, said he was under the impression that the agreement was about 95% complete.

“You do have a lot done, but you still are lacking to this day the debt service stuff — the current and past debt, everything having to do with debt,” Town Manager Adam Garland said.

“It was one of the first things we asked for,” O’Neill LaPlante, chairman of the withdrawal committee and chairman of the Richmond Board of Selectmen, said.

Garland suggested having the withdrawal committee’s attorney reach out to the school district for the information. If that doesn’t work, he said, they can seek help from the Department of Education.

A call to RSU 2 Acting Superintendent Mary Paine wasn’t immediately returned Thursday.

It’s not clear whether district officials are considering current indebtedness, as well as past indebtedness that has been retired to complete the allocation of assets and liabilities.

For the last two months, the committee has been working to put together an agreement under which the town would leave the school district with the approval of Richmond voters, relying on the district to provide requested information.

The agreement is intended to identify all the assets and liabilities of the district and decide how they should be divided between the district — which also encompasses Dresden, Farmingdale, Hallowell and Monmouth — and Richmond. That includes buildings, fixtures and vehicles as well as equipment leases and service contracts. It also includes union contracts and allocation of employees, particularly those that work at more than one location in the district.

Under the steps outlined in state law, the withdrawal committee has 90 days to submit its agreement to the state Department of Education. Because that won’t happen, the committee has sought and received an extension from the education department.

But that won’t change the timeline needed to have the final withdrawal question to be on a ballot in November for a possible July 1, 2021 exit.

Garland has said that if the matter didn’t appear on the November ballot, it would likely appear on the ballot at the June 2021 primary election, because it’s likely to draw a large number of voters.

The committee is tentatively scheduled to meet again on July 8.

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