2014-09-26 / Letters

Why should school board be trusted?

To the editor:

The latest fiasco of the RSU 21 board is in supporting an architectural firm that, after a five-year study, estimated repairs to three of our schools in the amount of $58.6 million dollars, only to have underestimated that cost by $8 million, as reported by an independent construction management, firm.

The school board was to present their support of the architectural firm’s estimate, of the scope and cost, of the repairs, in a referendum vote in November, now postponed to 2015.

The failures of the school board include allowing the study to span a five-year period at a cost in excess of $1 million, never reaching a consensus on what repairs were needed to compensate for their neglect of those facilities, ignoring a state-funded study that recommended closing two of our elementary schools in light of declining enrollments and supporting their visions of grandeur that included a fine arts center for all of southern Maine and athletic facilities that, in some cases, matched those of professional athletics.

One could ask why a management team, supported by the school board, who allowed our facilities to deteriorate to their present level, be trusted to improve, or even maintain, the quality of the education our children need? We are told that the quality of the education we provide can be measured by our performance in comparison to other schools in the state of Maine, rankings that are more the result of the socioeconomic status of our student body, not our performance. A true measurement would be the result of setting measurable goals and evaluating the results on an ongoing basis.

We often hear the phrase, “It’s for the children.” True. It is, however, is not an excuse for shoddy planning.

Edward Geoghan

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