2013-11-15 / Letters

Town has chance to ensure quality schools

To the editor:

Much has been made of the conversation around the RSU 21 plan to renovate Kennebunkport Consolidated School, along with Arundel’s Mildred L. Day School and Kennebunk High School. I applaud the RSU 21 board’s commitment to these projects. By committing to maintaining an elementary school in each of our towns, and by taking on the long overdue task of updating these facilities, the board and administration have shown great dedication to our students and tremendous vision for our towns.

Kennebunkport Consolidated School is old and tired. It is undersized and antiquated. Its life safety and energy efficiency systems are virtually nonexistent. But, what takes place at the school every day, and almost every evening and weekend, contributes in the most positive way possible to the sense of community that makes Kennebunkport an ideal place to live.

I’ve heard it suggested that we should close the school and send the students to Kennebunk or Arundel. Although each of the schools in RSU 21 are providing for our students in the best manner possible, Maine law says each town gets to decide whether or not to close their school on their own, and I know I’m in the majority when I say we’re not going to close Consolidated.

The choice becomes, then, to continue to let the facility slide toward an irreparable state, or bring it up to the standard we would each expect in our own homes and workplaces, with efficient heating and plumbing systems, with effective lifesafety systems, with appropriately sized rooms, restrooms, and parking areas, and, most importantly, with security systems that keep all inhabitants safe.

We know that quality schools exist in quality communities. I don’t want to wait one more year to ensure that the Consolidated School facility matches the educational and community values that we have for the work that is done there. Someone once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

We have the chance before us now to preserve our community values and ensure quality schools in our town for decades to come. We need to step up and make sure this opportunity doesn’t pass us by.

Grainne Archer
Kennebunkport

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