RICHMOND — The town of Richmond is trying again to withdraw from Regional School Unit 2.

The town has scheduled a public hearing for 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Town Office, 26 Gardiner St., to discuss a question on the November ballot about allocating $25,000 to restart the withdrawal process. Public comments or questions should be directed before the hearing to Town Manager Laurisa Loon.

The $25,000 would come from the unassigned fund balance, according to the town warrant.

Richmond fell short of gathering the number of voters needed in the last election to validate the vote to withdraw. The withdrawal process is specific, and while 434 residents voted in favor of withdrawing and 98 voted against it, there were not enough people — 822 — to validate the vote to withdraw, according to state requirements.

Andrew Alexander, a member of the Select Board, said the vote in November is to appropriate $25,000 toward the process. He said last time, the board voted to appropriate $50,000, but the town ended up spending only about $25,000. The money is for the negotiation process and related legal services.

“If people have questions, I encourage them to show up,” Alexander said. “This is only to appropriate the money, not on if we leave or stay (in the district). They can turn down the appropriation and that ends the process.”

Withdrawing from a school district in Maine requires a lengthy process outlined by the state Department of Education. Alexander said the town is now in the second step, having received a petition recently from resident Gary Emmons that required signatures from at least 10% of the town residents who voted in the last gubernatorial election.

Alexander said if town residents decide to repeat the withdrawal process, he hopes a November election brings out more voters.

The last withdrawal process took Richmond more than 18 months to complete, but members of the Richmond Withdrawal Committee said they waited six months for the necessary paperwork from the RSU 2 administration. District officials say the long wait was due to the transition period they went through with a new superintendent and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some Richmond residents have said they want out of RSU 2 because they seek a greater voice and more control in matters related to local schools.

O’Neil LaPlante, a former member of the Select Board, said the town’s relationship with RSU 2 “never came to fruition.”

RSU 2 enrolls students from Dresden, Farmingdale, Hallowell, Monmouth and Richmond.

In April, after the district’s budget came out, Dresden began the withdrawal process alongside Richmond. Dresden officials said they are still early in the process.

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