RICHMOND — The town of Richmond can move forward with its plan to withdraw from Regional School Unit 2.

At a meeting last week of the Richmond Board of Selectman, the school district’s lawyer, Mark Bauer, confirmed town and RSU 2 officials had finalized details of the separation.

“After negotiating back and forth, I think we have come to an agreement agreeable by both sides,” Bauer said at Tuesday’s meeting.

Under the separation agreement, which Richmond officials are expected to sign Tuesday, neither RSU 2 nor Richmond would owe the other money. Previously, Richmond officials sent RSU 2’s offer back because they did not agree with some of the debt the school district said it was owed.

Richmond Town Manager Adam Garland said the town and the school district had discussed a plan where RSU 2 would have had to give Richmond 21% of its undesignated balance and Richmond would have to pay debts of about $300,000. In addition, RSU 2 had requested Richmond pay $400,000 for capital improvements.

“Since we were going to have to pay each other, the thought crossed everyone’s mind, ‘What if we agreed to just not exchange,'” Garland said. “The undesignated balance would have been calculated at the time of the separation, and both parties felt like this was a more sure thing and set it in stone.”

The next step for Richmond is to send the signed paperwork to the Maine Department of Education. Garland said the paperwork is due in Augusta on Jan. 22.

The Maine DOE will have up to 90 days to review the paperwork, but with both parties agreeing, Garland said he did not think there should be issues or delays. If there are no issues, Richmond will schedule a public hearing for June 8 and vote on the withdrawal plan.

Following the withdrawal, there might be some school positions the town will have to fill, according to Garland.

The process of withdrawing from RSU 2 has been complicated and lengthy.

The last update on the matter came in November, after RSU 2 took six months to send its counteroffer to Richmond’s proposed withdrawal agreement.

RSU 2 officials cited the coronavirus pandemic and arrival of a new superintendent, Tonya Arnold, for the delay.

“I think it’s fair to say that people are excited to get to the end of this process,” Garland said.

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