2016-04-01 / Front Page

Thornton Academy sues RSU 21 over school choice

By Wm. Duke Harrington
Staff Writer

Thornton Academy (TA) filed suit yesterday, April 6, in York County Superior Court seeking a declaratory judgment against RSU 21 over the question of school choice.

In 2006 TA entered into a 10-year contract with Arundel to educate the town's middle school students. That agreement resulted in the creation of Thornton Academy Middle School (TAMS). In 2009, after Arundel joined with Kennebunk and Kenneunkport to create RSU 21, TA won a suit over school choice, allowing it to keep all Arundel middle schoolers in its system.

Arundel's contract with TA ends June 30 and, after initially signaling it might compel all Arundel students in grades 6-8 to attend Middle School of the Kennebunks (MSK) next year, the RSU 21 school board voted 8-2 at its March 7 meeting — following public outcry capped by attendance of more than 110 people at that session — to allow school choice. At least for now. Starting next year, Arundel students now in grades 5-8 will be allowed to attend either TAMS or MSK, provided they notify RSU 21 by April 15. 

In its suit, TA says school choice should not end with the students now in grade 5 at Arundel's Mildred L. Day Elementary School, but should continue in perpetuity. 

More details to come in next week's issue of the Kennebunk Post.

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