2012-05-25 / Letters

Is this the dollar value placed on eduction?

To the editor:

Portland’s WCSH Channel 6 aired a segment

May 10 on several proposed town withdrawals from school districts in Maine. The primary focus was on a withdrawal initiative by Arundel from Regional School Unit 21.

The main withdrawal proponent cited as the principal reason an unfairly high tax increase compared with its school district consolidation partners, Kennebunk and Kennebunkport.

The numbers stated were $177 vs. $35 and $2, respectively. At first blush that might seem inequitable.

Yet the great bulk of that cost difference stems only from complying with state education law, computations using each town’s number of students and valuation.

Even more importantly, no time frame was mentioned by the withdrawal proponent. It should have been. That $177 increase is cumulative over four years including the upcoming 2012-13 school year. Let’s see, $177 divided by 48 months equals $3.69 per month.

Is that really the size of the issue? That’s less than $4 a month per $100,000 valuation.

Is that truly the reason for this perceived need for more local control? Since consolidation, where does the huge improvement in education of Arundel’s kindergarten through fifth-grade children fit into all this?

As part of their desire for more control, is this the dollar value some would place on your children’s education? Or is $177, without a time frame, put out there simply as a scare tactic?

The above numbers ($177, $35 and $2) originate from a Kennebunk resident. They were presented at a school board meeting March 19. His purpose was not entirely clear.

The amount is fairly trivial for most Arundel households. One wonders if there aren’t other unstated reasons for seeking withdrawal.

If so, let’s get them all out on the table so that responsible adult solutions can be found.

Our kids need and deserve the best education we can afford.

Dorothy Gregoire Arundel

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