MAINE SCHOOL ADMINISTRATIVE DISTRICT NO. 6, Plaintiff
INHABITANTS OF THE TOWN OF FRYE ISLAND, Defendant
D. Warren, Justice, Superior Court
the court are cross motions for summary judgment by defendant
Town of Frye Island and plaintiff Maine School Administrative
District No. 6. Interveners James Hodge and Ed Rogers join in
Frye Island's motions.
court has previously noted, this case involves the latest
chapter of a two decades-long dispute relating to Frye
Island's attempt to withdraw from MSAD 6, This dispute
was previously the subject of litigation a decade ago.
See Town of Frye Island v. State, 2008 ME 27, 940
background to this action, as set forth in the Law
Court's 2008 decision, is that Frye Island is a summer
community that shuts down from November through April every
year. 2008 ME 27 ¶ 2. Although a member of MSAD 6, Frye
Island has no school age children who reside on the island
during the school year and no residents of the island have
ever attended MSAD 6 schools. Id. As a result, Frye
Island is seeking to be relieved from contributing to MSAD
and Statutory Background
facts, as derived from Frye Island's uncontroverted
statement of material facts and from the relevant statutes,
to 1997 Frye Island was part of the Town of Standish. In 1997
Frye Island sought to secede from Standish and become an
independent municipality. A memorandum of understanding was
reached between Frye Island and Standish in which Standish
agreed to remain neutral regarding proposed legislation
allowing Frye Island to secede so long as, among other
conditions, Frye Island remained part of MS AD 6 and
continued to contribute to its support. The memorandum
provided that the bill of secession adequately addressed this
condition. See Frye Island SMF ¶¶ 1-2; Exhibit A to
Braun affidavit; 2008 ME 27 ¶ 3.
Legislature thereafter enacted the bill of secession as
private and special legislation. P. & S. L. 1997, ch. 41
("Secession Law"). That statute included a
provision that Frye Island "remains in School
Administrative District 6 or its successor and pays its
proportional share of costs, unless or until such time as it
withdraws from the school administrative district in
accordance with applicable state law." Id.
was approved by a majority of Frye Island voters and took
effect on July 1, 1998. Frye Island SMF ¶ 3; P & S.
L. 1997, ch. 41 § A-3.
Thereafter Frye Island adopted a charter effective January 1,
1999 which created and defined its municipal government. Frye
Island SMF ¶ 12. Article IV of the charter contained
language consistent with section A-8 of the Secession Law,
stating that Frye Island would remain in MS AD 6 and pay its
proportional share of the costs "unless or until such
time as it withdraws from the school administrative district
in accordance with applicable state law." Frye Island
SMF ¶ 16; Exhibit B to Braun Affidavit.
Frye Island residents voted unanimously to withdraw from MSAD
6 pursuant to the provisions of then-existing 20-A M.R.S.
§ 1405. Frye Island SMF ¶ 17.
response, the Legislature passed, as emergency legislation,
"An Act to Clarify the Act of Separation of Frye Island
from the Town of Standish." P & S.L. 2001, ch. 8,
alternatively referred to as L.D. 500. See Town of Frye
Island v. State, 2008 ME 27 ¶ 6.
500 amended P.& S.L. 1997, ch. 41 § A-8 by restating
that Frye Island would remain in MSAD 6 and pay its
proportional share of costs and deleting the words
"unless or until such time as it withdraws from the
school administrative district in accordance with applicable
state law." It further amended P.& S.L. 1997, ch. 41
by adding the following provision:
Authorization required. Notwithstanding any
withdrawal proceedings initiated or completed pursuant to the
Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, section 1405 prior to the
effective date of this section, or any subsequent action
taken by the Town of Frye Island, the Town of Frye Island is
a part of and may not withdraw from School Administrative
District 6 or its successor unless such withdrawal is first
authorized by further amendment to this chapter.
P & S.L. 2001, ch. 8 § 2.
the Legislature established a new formula for allocating the
cost of education between municipalities according to the
percentage of students from each municipality. Under this
formula Frye Island's contribution to MSAD 6 would have
been reduced to zero. 2008 ME 27 ¶ 7. In early 2005,
however, as part of legislation addressing education
financing the Legislature enacted a provision expressly
exempting municipalities in MSAD 6 and MSAD 44 from the new
cost allocation formula. P.L. 2005 ch. 2, § D-69.
Frye Island filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality
of both L. D. 500 and the legislation exempting MSAD 6 from
the new cost allocation formula. The Superior Court
(Delahanty, J.) decided the case on an agreed statement of
facts and rejected the various constitutional challenges
raised by Frye Island. Town of Frye Island v. State,
No. CV-05-712, 2007 Me. Super. LEXIS 124 (June 28, 2007).
Island appealed. Because the statute addressing withdrawal
from school districts, 20-A M.R.S. § 1405, had been
repealed in the meantime, the Law Court decided that Frye
Island's constitutional challenges to L.D. 500 were moot.
At the same time it affirmed the decision below in rejecting
Frye Island's constitutional challenges to the statutory
exemption of MSAD 6 from the new formula for educational cost
allocation. Town of Frye Island v. State, 2007 ME 27
¶¶ 11-12, 13-17 &n.4.
the Legislature enacted a new statutory process for
municipalities to withdraw from school administrative
districts. P.L. 2009, ch. 590 § 9, codified at 20-A
M.R.S. § 1466.
October 2017 the residents of Frye Island voted in favor of
filing a petition for Frye Island's withdrawal from MSAD
6 pursuant to 20-A M.R.S. § 1466. Frye Island SMF ¶
17. In January 2018 the municipal officers of Frye Island
ordered a special election on a proposed amendment to Article
IV of Frye Island's charter. Frye Island ...