Statement Regarding the Arundel Middle School Judgement

The Board of Directors of RSU 21 has voted to appeal the decision of the Maine Superior Court that Arundel middle school students have the right to attend private school at public expense. The Board met with its attorneys in executive session on Thursday night to discuss the decision. Following the Executive Session the Board voted to pursue the appeal.

According to Katie Hawes, the RSU 21 Superintendent of Schools, the Board’s vote was unanimous.  She said: “The Board felt that the Superior Court was in error when it decided that students from Arundel have a never ending right to attend private school at public expense, even though Arundel’s contract with Thornton Academy had expired. The District has a high performing middle school with capacity to serve all of the students in our District.  If the Superior Court’s decision is allowed to stand, it will divide the District by allowing one small group of students to attend a private school at public expense, create inefficiencies that increase the Districts costs, and raise taxes in all three towns. The Board does not believe that is what the Legislature intended when it passed the school reorganization law in 2007 to encourage greater efficiencies in public education.”

The Board voted to direct the RSU’s attorneys to file an appeal to the Law Court.  Richard Spencer, the RSU’s attorney has advised RSU 21 that a final decision on the appeal can be anticipated in 9 – 12 months.