Regional School Unit 2’s Budget and Operations Committee and Personnel and Negotiations Committee met Thursday to discuss the next steps of how to move forward as a district without Richmond. Last week Richmond voted to withdraw from the district in an overwhelming vote of 1,144 to 539. Emily Duggan via Zoom

HALLOWELL — Regional School Unit 2 has started the steps of moving forward as a school district without Richmond after the town voted to withdraw from the district in last week’s election.

The RSU 2 Budget and Operations and the Negotiations and Personnel committees met Thursday night and discussed how to look at next year’s budget without Richmond’s financial contributions and, at the same time, how to move forward in the process of selecting a new superintendent.  

Richmond overwhelmingly voted to withdraw from the school district by a vote of 1,144 in favor and 539 against. The town has already started the process of becoming a separate district and will form a transition committee within the next couple of weeks, a move that is required to start work on the new district’s budget before a school board can be elected in March. 

During the RSU 2 committees’ meeting, directors discussed how most of the RSU 2 budget is already separated by towns. There are a few shared spots in the budget, such as central office staff and transportation, and some more specific positions, such as a food service director, but most of the budget is town and building specific. 

With Richmond’s departure, Marcia Buker Elementary School and Richmond Middle and High School will be separated from the district’s other schools, which are Dresden Elementary School, Monmouth Memorial School, Monmouth Academy, Hall-Dale Elementary School and Hall-Dale High School. 

RSU 2 Business Manager Stephanie Saltzman told board directors how, in preparing the budget for next year, she already started to create it with the thought that Richmond could potentially not be a part of the school district.  


“As we did know about the withdrawal, we asked those questions where the separations are with Richmond and RSU 2 and we tried to be ahead of it,” she said.

Although the budget process for the district has started, a working draft will not be created until January.

The biggest challenge, Saltzman and Interim Superintendent Rick Amero said, will be figuring out the transportation aspect of the split districts. At this time, some of the Richmond buses loop through Dresden to pick up students.

Per the withdrawal agreement, Richmond will pay to lease three school buses after its departure from the district.

The district will also have to figure out food preparation alternatives because right now meals are made at Marcia Buker Elementary School in Richmond and transported to Dresden Elementary School. 

As for staffing, those who are currently in a school building 50% of the time or more will be assigned to that building. According to committee members, there are only three staff members who bounce between Dresden and Richmond schools. 


Amero said he hasn’t heard much concern from staff members about the withdrawal, but acknowledged that it is still recent, and people are taking it differently. 

“I think people are still absorbing this and trying to think about it,” he said at the meeting. “Everyone is affected differently and there is an unknown.” 

At Thursday’s meeting, the Personnel and Negotiations Committee discussed next steps in the process of selecting a new superintendent for RSU 2.

Former Superintendent Matt Gilbert stepped down last summer and the board of directors decided on a long process to find his replacement. Maine School Management Association Executive Director Steve Bailey is helping the district with the process and attended Thursday’s committee meeting.

There have been three meetings over the past week with people from district municipalities — in Monmouth, Richmond and Farmingdale — to discuss what they want to see in the new superintendent. Additionally, there is a survey available to all district residents and employees on the district’s website that is available until Nov. 23 for people to weigh in.

After the survey results are in, directors intend to approve a job posting at the Dec. 8 meeting with the hope it will be online by early January. 

Regional School Unit 2 is made up of Hallowell, Farmingdale, Dresden, Monmouth and, until June 30, 2023, Richmond. The new Richmond school district is scheduled to go live on July 1, 2023. 

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