A rematch is shaping up between Regional School Unit 13 and the Sanford school system to be eligible for millions of dollars to construct an education facility that includes a high school, a vocational school and college level programs.

But there is growing opposition to the project by school board members in the Midcoast.

The RSU 13 board voted 11-1 March 4 to file an application with the Maine Department of Education to be designated as the integrated, consolidated secondary and post secondary facility. Board member Josiah Wilson of St. George voted against the application submission.

This followed an 8-5 vote on Feb. 24 by the Region 8 board, which oversees the Mid-Coast School of Technology, to file the application. The vocational school and RSU 13 are partners in the Many Flags, One Campus project.

All three Maine School Administrative District 40 board members on the Region 8 board — Carrie Chavanne of Washington, Mary Genthner of Friendship and Danny Jackson of Waldoboro — voted against filing the application. Also voting against it were Wilson of St. George, representing RSU 13, and John Lewis who represents Camden on the SAD 28 board.

Mid-Coast School of Technology Executive Director Beth Fisher said the vote would have been 10-5 if the two island representatives had attended. They were unable to attend due to bad weather but sent letters of support for Many Flags.

State Sen. Chris Rector attended the March 4 meeting of the SAD 40 board to ask the district to support the Many Flags, One Campus project. Rector said support from SAD 40 would strengthen the Many Flags application, which is due to the state by March 15.

On Feb. 4, the SAD 40 board unanimously voted to direct the superintendent to write a letter saying that SAD 40 does not support the Many Flags project because it is not in the best interest of the district’s students.

Rector said SAD 40’s statement “may not torpedo the application but it severely weakens it.”

On March 4, there was no vote or action taken to reconsider the earlier SAD 40 letter against the project.

Board member Theodore Brown of Warren said his concerns include a lack of input by SAD 40 into the plan, governance of the vocational-technical school, and the school district’s financial responsibilities. He also said it is not fair to point fingers at the SAD 40 board if there is criticism of Many Flags.

Rector said there was no intention of setting up SAD 40 and he was “taken aback at what happened” by the school board’s decision to decline support for Many Flags. Rector said at this point, Many Flags is just trying to submit a strong application so it can get the project approved.

Board member Dennis Wooster of Warren said the expense and time of transportation is another reason that Many Flags may not be in the best interest of SAD 40 students.

Board member Ann Donaldson of Union said Many Flags should have done a better job getting support from SAD 40. She urged Many Flags to treat SAD 40 as the organization to approach about getting permission to move forward with the project. The decision-making process should go through the SAD 40 board, Donaldson said.

Board members also criticized an opinion column by the Many Flags Steering Committee that was published in the Feb. 17 issue of The Herald Gazette. In the column, the steering committee said there were “numerous public meetings with the SAD 40 School Board.”

“My definition of numerous is not two,” said board member Jackson.

Jackson said the steering committee should have accurately stated what happened. Jackson also said that as a representative of the Region 8 board he has kept SAD 40 informed about discussions on Many Flags, as well as other issues.

Board member Francis Cross of Waldoboro said the state has never fulfilled its funding promises for schools, and this is unlikely to change. The state will fund the project until it needs the money for something else, Cross said. Later, he called the project a good idea, but said Many Flags organizers shunned SAD 40.

Board member Ron Dolloff of Waldoboro has often expressed support for vocational education. But he and board member Dana Dow of Waldoboro said the real need is for a community college campus nearby.

At the RSU 13 meeting March 4, board member Jamie Doubleday of Thomaston, who has been one of the key participants in the development of the Many Flags proposal, said she has been informed that only RSU 13 and Sanford are applying for the designation.

Doubleday cited the efforts of many people outside the district including the Muskie Institute and the Hutchinson Center.

RSU 13 member Wilson explained his opposition on the day after the meeting.

“They held our re-organizational plan hostage giving off the impression that if folks voted for it they’d be given a nice shiny new school. It was the force that rushed this plan together that we are now living out. It is my opinion, the sooner that this district can get away from this dream the better,” Wilson said.

Superintendent Judy Lucarelli said that whichever school is designated will receive money for construction but no money has been set aside by the state and it is uncertain when money will be available.

A panel appointed by the commissioner of the Maine Department of Education will review the competing applications and recommend to the commissioner which project should be designated.