About 400 students attend the two Richmond schools, Marcia Buker Elementary School, seen Oct. 18, and Richmond Middle and High School. The town is in the process of withdrawing from Regional School Unit 2. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

RICHMOND – Officials on the Richmond Transition Committee say they are frustrated about not receiving documents they requested from Regional School Unit 2 that are needed in order for the town to move forward with withdrawing from the district. 

Chairperson Amanda McDaniel acknowledged at the transition meeting Wednesday night the big task at hand and said the district is “putting out fires,” but that “more clarity” from the central office is needed about where the district is at with their contracts relating to miscellaneous services. She said the transition committee has requested documents related to plowing, trash and other related facilities and management systems needed to run the schools.  

Per the withdrawal agreement, the Richmond School District must honor any contracts that are in place, until they expire and the board may then decide to move forward or contract a new service. McDaniel said in the meeting that some contracts go to the end of 2023 or 2024 and some have already expired.

The “fires” McDaniel referred to are with the withdrawal itself and recent RSU 2 payroll problems resulting in employees not being paid on time, which has contributed to staff turnover.

“We put out the request and received a portion of what we are looking for,” McDaniel told the transition committee. “And not knowing what to look for, I’ve had five meetings with both school systems and two principals (from Richmond) and administrative assistants to look for questions we have no answers for.” 


This is not the first time the district has not provided the documents needed in order to move forward. When the town tried to withdraw the first time in September 2020, the central office staff, different from the current staff, did not hand over the necessary paperwork for six months.

Richmond voters decided to withdraw from RSU 2 in November and since then the town has formed the Richmond Transition Committee, which meets every two weeks to plan ahead before the new school board is elected in March.

The transition committee can’t create a budget or hire any personnel, but it can get paperwork, existing policies and other administrative details in order.

Budget season for a school district usually begins in early January, when the school board begins to provide input on various funding needs, and extends until the document is finalized and voted on, typically in June.

Because the fiscal year for the Richmond School District does not start until July 1, the transition committee is working to get the paperwork in order for the board to start immediately in March and so members have an idea of contracts that are already taken care of and others that they might have to consider within the next couple of years.

As McDaniel acknowledged, setting up the new district has proven to be a tall order. 


The business manager of RSU 2, Stephanie Saltzman, said at the board of directors meeting last Thursday that preparing their district’s budget is not as easy as “just removing Richmond” from the district’s expenses.

“It takes a lot of work, and I’ll do the best I can do,” Saltzman said at the meeting. “There are easy things I can just take out with Richmond, but it’s the facilities, the special education, the transportation, the IT and facilities. It’s the bigger groups that are districtwide.” 

Some of the paperwork and expenses are districtwide, not just specific to the school.  

Aside from Richmond, RSU 2 also serves the communities of Hallowell, Farmingdale, Dresden and Monmouth. The district has seven schools to manage, including those in Richmond. When Richmond breaks away, the town will keep Marcia Buker Elementary School and Richmond Middle and High School.  

The new Richmond district will have to hire a superintendent, business manager and other central office staff once a school board is elected in the town’s March 7 special election. The transition committee is made up of McDaniel and Liana Knight, who are also part of the RSU 2 school board; resident O’Neal LaPlante and Richmond Town Manager Laurisa Loon. 

Candidates running for the Richmond school board are Robert Allen, Nicole Tuttle and current board member McDaniel for a three-year term; for a two-year term, current RSU 2 board member Knight is running unopposed; and for a one-year term, current RSU 2 board member Russ Hughes is running unopposed.

The March 7 special election will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the town office on 26 Gardiner St.

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