MIDDLETON – While residents want school officials to study withdrawal options, voters insisted on sticking with the traditional Town Meeting format at the polls Tuesday.
Article 2, which petitioned residents to accept Senate Bill 2, failed 125-102 and fell well short of the three-fifths majority required to pass. It needed at least 136 votes – or 60 percent – of the 227 ballots cast.
As a result the community will continue to conduct municipal business at annual Town Meeting. This year's session is scheduled to start Saturday at 9 a.m.
School Board member Janet Kalar and Joseph Bailey are seeking the one three-year term as a selectman.
Andrea Bowden received 159 votes to be reelected to the school board. Todd LaPierre, who is not seeking another term as selectman, received 146 votes to earn the second vacant seat on the school board.
Janet Kalar, who served on the board for the past year, received 98 votes and lost to Joseph Bailey, 166-71, for a bid for the three-year seat as selectman.
Residents approved all articles on the school side, including proposals to obtain three new buses and to study the feasibility and suitability of withdrawing from the AREA agreement with Farmington, which was enacted in 1972.
Officials must form a committee – which includes two members from the Farmington School Board, two from Middleton's school board, two local selectmen and the superintendent as a non-voting member. Once established, it has 180 days to submit its findings to the state Board of Education. If the state determines that the plan is suitable, residents will have to decide on the matter.
Middleton pays tuition to educate students in Farmington. Based on a vote in Farmington last year, officials from both communities are in the process of reviewing and updating the AREA agreement.