2013-03-08 / Letters

Association rejects withdrawal proposal

To the editor:

Kennebunkport’s March 26 special election will ask voters whether they favor beginning the process to withdraw from Regional School Unit 21, by their rejection or approval of an expenditure not to exceed $30,000. This question is before the voters because of a citizen petition.

Last winter, selectmen appointed an eight-person Educational Options Study Committee to investigate the pros and cons of withdrawal. The Study Committee report concludes there would be little to no operating cost advantage to withdrawal. Further, there are a substantial number of unknowns while the only clear change would be increased local control of Consolidated School with a loss of any control over Middle School of the Kennebunks and high school.

Withdrawal would mean that Kennebunkport would form a totally independent elementary school district and pay tuition for students in grades six through 12 to attend other school districts. The full report can be viewed on the town’s webpage at www.kennebunkportme.gov.

Some have argued that initiating a formal withdrawal process is simply a way to gather more information. Not true. The formal process may gather more information, but it also will lead to another final vote to withdraw, likely in November. The process simply cannot be turned off once its started.

The executive committee of the Kennebunkport Residents Association has reviewed the report in detail. We conclude it would be a mistake to withdraw from RSU 21 and strongly urge voters to reject the proposal.

There are more disadvantages to withdrawal than there are advantages while there is little to no cost savings. Also, there are a significant number of unknowns that could add to costs or otherwise negatively impact the quality of education provided to our children of elementary age attending Consolidated School. David James, Robert Almeder, Tom Foley, Susan Graham, Ernie Lyman, Mary McLaughlin, Dennis Rogers and Jack Senese, executive committee Kennebunkport Resident’s Association

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