DRESDEN — A new committee in Dresden is exploring different educational avenues for students in town as officials consider the future of the town’s elementary school. 

The Education Exploratory Committee aims to research different options it can present to residents, including withdrawing from Regional School Unit 2.

During its meeting on Monday night, the eight committee members finalized a list of 65 questions to ask school officials as they move forward.

Dresden only has one school, Dresden Elementary School, which serves around 70 students. During budget talks this year, RSU 2 officials discussed whether to close the elementary school as enrollment dwindles and the district’s budget continues to go up.  

The Board of Selectmen established and appointed the exploratory committee in November, before district officials began deliberating the future of the school, but committee Chairperson Leah Bickford said those discussions only solidify the need to explore the town’s options.  

“It wasn’t until recently, around when the committee was established, that there was talk that the elementary school could close,” said Bickford. “It gave us more reasoning to not just look at exploring other options, but to have it (the committee) established so we can look at and explore other options.” 


With only the elementary school in town, students who live in Dresden choose either the Hall-Dale schools in Hallowell or the Monmouth schools for grades 6 through 12. Richmond Middle and High School will no longer be an option starting next year, after the town voted to withdraw from the district in November. In the Richmond district’s first-year budget, the increase is 24% for local taxpayers. 

Like Richmond, Dresden previously tried to withdraw from RSU 2 and had formed a different exploratory committee that dissolved in June 2022 after residents voted not to pursue withdrawing at that time. 

In the 2023-24 proposed budget, Dresden will split the local share with the three other RSU 2 municipalities — Monmouth, Farmingdale and Hallowell. Dresden’s share went up 7.4% this year, bringing the total amount to $2,158,437. 

Multiple options for students in Dresden are being researched by the committee. The town could withdraw from RSU 2 and either join another district or form its own district and tuition students out to other middle and high schools in the area. The committee is also looking into what it could mean to close Dresden Elementary School and still withdraw from RSU 2. 

Members of the committee have split into groups and started contacting superintendents and other school officials about the possible options and plan to present the findings to Dresden residents within the next six months.  

Gardiner-area Maine School Administrative District 11, Wiscasset Public Schools, Bath-area Regional School Unit 1 and the Richmond School Department will be researched by the committee. 

The Education Exploratory Committee meets every other Monday at 6 p.m. at the Bridge Academy Library and its meetings are open to the public.  

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