2013-02-22 / Letters

Residents to vote on allocation of funds

To the editor:

I want to make sure that the residents of Kennebunkport understand that they will not be voting to withdraw from Regional School Unit 21 at the vote scheduled for March 26. Rather, the vote is to approve the allocation of funds to appoint a committee along with a consultant who will assist with assessing our options to withdraw or not withdraw from RSU 21. Should the money not be approved, it will end the withdrawal process. We need a majority vote.

As Stuart Barwise said at our last selectmen’s meeting, “We should have all the facts before us in order to make the best choice for our town.”

Selectmen voted 3-1 to move ahead with this. The Budget Board was split, 4-4.

This movement was brought about when the school board restructured our contract, once again, to change the formula to increase Kennebunkport’s share of the education budget. This change will be going to vote on March 26 as well and needs a two-thirds vote to pass.

The new formula has us paying the “over EPS,” or above the state’s portion, at 90 percent (up from 60 percent) property value and only 10 percent student population. Should the bond issues pass for the renovations to the high school, Mildred L. Day, and Consolidated, our portion would be based 100 percent on property value. Thus, we would be paying around 43 percent of the new debt with only 16 percent of the students.

Kennebunk, with 61 percent of the students, would be paying 48 percent, and Arundel, with 22 percent of the students, would be paying 9 percent. This information is from the report from Superintendent Andrew Dolloff.

Presently, Kennebunkport pays $15,655 per student; Kennebunk, $11,950; and Arundel $6,852.

To compare mil rates is doing the people of Kennebunkport a disservice. Our mil rate is comparatively low because our property values are high. We also work hard on both the Select Board and the Budget Board every year to be frugal yet responsible with your tax dollars. There is the possibility of our taxes increasing by 25 percent should the cost sharing be changed and bond issue pass.

These are the facts. For additional information and figures, you can go to the town’s website.

We will be discussing this issue at our Selectmen’s meetings. Please be responsible voters, pass this information along to friends and neighbors. This is your town and your tax dollars.

Sheila Matthews-Bull, chairman,
Board of Selectmen
Kennebunkport

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