RICHMOND — More than 1,000 residents showed up to Richmond’s polls Tuesday night and a majority of them voted, once again, to restart the process of withdrawing from Regional School Unit 2.

The petition asked residents if they would like to allocate $25,000 to start the process again — one that abruptly ended last June when the town failed to gain enough people to officiate the vote.

An overwhelming majority — 714 to 373 — voted Tuesday in favor of the petition that was submitted by resident Gary Emmons, according to unofficial results provided by the town.

Out of the total votes, 45 kept the question blank and a total of 1,132 voted. It was the only town referendum on the ballot.

Securing the vote will allow the town to establish a withdrawal committee that will lead the process from here on out.

“In my opinion,” said Russ Hughes, a current member of the school board representing Richmond, the vote “reflects a dissatisfaction with the lack of progress in academic rigor in Richmond schools. Fair or not, there is also a feeling that Richmond schools are being held hostage by the other RSU 2 towns in the allocation of the resources, the masking of students and, recently, the banning of spectators at indoor sporting events.”


RSU 2 Board Chairperson Jonathan Hamann said he acknowledges the frustration from Richmond and “hopes we can work on figuring out how to resolve those differences.”

“The RSU is embarking on a re-visioning process this year, and one of my hopes is that the RSU can move forward with collective aspirations for our students and community, while at the same time, appreciating the differences that each of our five towns brings to the district,” Hamann said. “Perhaps through this process we can overcome the issues that have spurred Richmond residents to once again pursue going out on their own.”

Selectman Andy Alexander said the Selectboard will start accepting applications for people to be on the committee.

According to the state Department of Education’s guidelines for withdrawal, the committee has to be made up of one municipal officer, one member of the general public, one member from the group filing the petition and one member of Richmond from the RSU 2 school board.

Kelli Deveaux, the spokesperson from the state education department, said there is “nothing in the statue preventing them from using the same withdrawal committee that they had in the previous attempt,” but the panel will have to start from the beginning and complete the required steps.

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