Saco says goodbye to RSU 23 … What’s next?

SACO – OLD ORCHARD BEACH – The election is over and by a margin of 3-1 the citizens in Saco voted to leave RSU 23 and form their own administrative school unit.

Here are some of the facts from the election and few interesting observations. Today, there are almost 20,000 people living in the city and approximately 15,500 of those people are at least 18-years-old.

During the election there were a little more than 4,000 votes cast.

Yes, that means voter turnout was somewhere near 30 percent. In my book, that’s not too good.

But, the vote’s official, and thankfully enough people came to the polls for the the results to become binding. Part of the legislation that allows communities to withdraw from a Regional School Unit, requires a certain number of votes to be cast. It’s based on the gubernatorial election.

In Saco’s case, at least 3,800 needed to vote for the results to become official. Again, a little more than 4,000 people voted on Tuesday.

Vangel Costsis, a member of the Saco Withdrawal Comittee, speaks before the city council on Oct. 21.

So now, the neighboring town of Dayton will vote on withdrawing from RSU 23 as well and if they should sign a collaborative agreement with Saco (Nov. 19). Saco voters elect a new school board (Dec. 10), and the city council will now have to approve a new financial plan for the newly formed school system.

In some ways, this is exactly what the majority of those who voted wanted – local control over the single largest line item in the current municipal budget, and a chance to have a direct impact on the school systems serving the children who live in our community.

But I know, there’s a price for everything. I learned as a child, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” I hope the city works consistently and collectively to achieve these goals. It’s a lot of work, but I’m one of the 30 percent who voted and I’m willing to help.




David Arenstam

About David Arenstam

Originally from away, but here to stay - Maine is my home and I love writing stories about the people and places from my end of the state. I am a teacher and writer and my first novel, "Homecoming: A Soldier's Story of Loyalty, Courage, and Redemption" is available now at