RICHMOND — Three people will soon be appointed to a transition committee to start establishing the needs and responsibilities of the town’s new school district before a school board can formally be elected.

The town’s Board of Selectmen will appoint the individuals — one of whom must currently be on the Regional School Unit 2 board of directors — during its next meeting on Nov. 28.

In the days since residents voted to withdraw from Hallowell-based RSU 2 last week, the town clerk has certified the results — 1,144 in favor of withdrawing and 539 against — with the Department of Education.

The next step in the process is to establish a school board to hire a superintendent and other central office staff, build an official budget and review policies for the new district.

But, a school board cannot be elected until March — 100 days after nomination papers can be taken out at the town office. The Board of Selectmen and Town Manager Laurisa Loon expect the special school board election to be held the second week in March.

In the meantime, since there is work that can be done before March, Loon recommended on Tuesday that the town’s selectmen appoint a transition committee. 


Richmond’s new municipal district has until July 1 to complete a budget and have it voted on by the town, hire a superintendent and set up bank accounts to receive money from the state for its share of the budget. The new district also has to be prepared to submit its student, staff and federal data to the Department of Education, and hire an attorney.

The transition committee does not have the authority to hire a superintendent (or any other employees) or establish a budget, but it can get started by posting hiring ads and creating a budget estimate. It can also review bargaining agreements and contracts that could be shared between the town and its schools — such as for copy machines or software — as well as make recommendations on staffing.

“From December, January and February they will do the work,” Loon said of the transition committee. “From March, the school board will pick up.” 

Five members will make up the new district’s board, and currently there are three Richmond school board members who are a part of RSU 2’s board — Russ Hughes, Amanda McDaniel and Liana Knight. If they want to serve on the new school board, they will have to run for election on staggered terms.

Earlier in the withdrawal process, the Richmond withdrawal committee had to create a budget estimate for its first year as a district — it estimated a total budget of $7 million, with the local contribution for Richmond taxpayers at about $2,069,176.

That estimated budget does not factor in the central office staff positions such as superintendent and business manager that were shared in RSU 2 and will have to be filled for the new municipal district.

The Richmond schools — Richmond Middle and High School and Marcia Buker Elementary School — are funded through June 30, 2023, and will employ teachers and administrators who already work in the district. 

Hughes, one of the RSU 2 board members who represents Richmond, said at Tuesday’s select board meeting that the school budget process can take around four months to complete and emphasized the need for the transition committee to get started as soon as possible. 

“We want to reinvest and have meetings with the stakeholders and parents and community members, and figure out how to make the schools better,” Hughes said at the meeting. “We don’t want to wait another year.”

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