2012-10-26 / Letters

Analysis indicates no savings with leaving

To the editor:

It is the unanimous opinion of the Arundel Economic Development Committee that the taxpayers of Arundel would be better off financially if the town were to remain in Regional School Unit 21 rather than leave and go it alone.

The opinion is based on an analysis of the report prepared by Planning Decisions, Inc., an economic consulting firm from Portland, on the comparative costs of withdrawing from or remaining in RSU 21.

Although the Planning Decisions report is lengthy and somewhat complicated, the consultants have provided the town with six projected school budgets that could be expected.

Three of these budgets (Options 1-3) reflect costs to the town if we withdraw and go it alone, while the other three projected budgets reflect costs to the town if we stay in RSU 21. All of these projected budgets are based on different estimates of future costs, some of which cannot be precisely determined.

The estimated mil rates for the different options are as follows:

Go it alone: Option 1, $11.80; Option 2, $12.65; and Option 3, $13.56. Remain in RSU 21: Option 4, $12.52; Option 5, $12.04; and Option 6, $11.88.

It is the opinion of the Arundel Economic Development Committee that Option 1 of the budget alternatives is unrealistically low because of overly optimistic estimates of administrative costs and unrecognized risks associated with the cost of special education. We have therefore rejected Option 1 as a viable choice. We believe the actual mil rate of going it alone will fall somewhere between Option 2 and Option 3.

The difference between Option 2 (the most optimistic estimate) and Option 4 (the worst-case scenario if we stay in RSU 21) is 0.13 mils. The difference between Option 2 and Option 6 (best-case scenario if we remain in the RSU) is 0.77 mils.

This translates into an estimated annual savings to Arundel taxpayers of between $51,500 and $305,200, based on current valuations. Extending these figures over a 20- year span, the long-term savings to Arundel taxpayers will be between $1 million and $6 million.

Although this recommendation is based solely on the financial aspects of staying in or withdrawing from the RSU, we believe that RSU 21 has a greater capacity to provide Arundel’s students with more and better educational opportunities. As such, Arundel students can receive a higher quality education at a lower cost to the taxpayer by staying in RSU 21.

On Nov. 6, the Arundel Economic Development Committee urges all Arundel citizens to vote no on the proposed referendum question to withdraw from RSU 21.

Ira Camp, John Bell, Jeff Burnham, Jennifer
Burrows and Linda Zuke
Arundel Economic Development Committee

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