ROCKLAND, Maine — The Rockland City Council voted unanimously Wednesday evening to urge rejection of the referendum on next Tuesday’s ballot that asks residents if they want to begin the process of withdrawing from the local school district.

The vote by all five members of the council follows a meeting held Tuesday night in which councilors met with school leaders as well as municipal officials from throughout Regional School Unit 13.

The item was added to the agenda Wednesday night without notice to the public that the issue would be discussed.

Councilor Valli Geiger said she is fully on board with RSU 13 continuing to exist. She said she is impressed with Superintendent John McDonald and Oceanside High School East Principal Rene Thompson, who are both starting their second year with the district.

Councilor Larry Pritchett said the council feels the withdrawal referendum is premature.

“The withdrawal study could torpedo the last opportunity to reach the original goals of RSU 13,” Pritchett said.

The referendum for starting withdrawal was the result of a citizen petition drive. The group calling for withdrawal submitted more than the 272 signatures needed to get on the municipal ballot.

People signing the petition included Mayor Frank Isganitis and Councilors Geiger and William Clayton.