2016-04-22 / Letters

What is the withdrawal attempt all about?

To the editor:

As an Arundel taxpayer, the motivation for pursuing withdrawal from RSU 21 by some Arundel residents puzzles me.

It can’t be justified on the basis of a higher quality of education. The sorry state of the Mildred L. Day School before joining RSU 21 is no secret. It was the RSU that instituted programs such as the Gifted and Talented Program and the K-5 Foreign Language Program. It was the RSU that supplied the new curricula and updated technology that have led to sweeping gains in student performance in statewide standardized testing.

The administrators and teachers who accomplished this turnaround, however, are employees of RSU 21, and if Arundel withdraws it is quite conceivable that many of them will stay with the RSU and be assigned to other schools. They will no longer be at M. L. Day. That is bound to diminish the future quality of the children’s education.

Withdrawal can’t be justified on the basis of local control. Arundel has representation on the RSU 21 Board of Directors, but would have no say in the administration of any other school system that Arundel students might choose to attend.

It can’t be justified on the basis of saving money. That theory was debunked during the attempted withdrawal in 2012, and withdrawal costs will now be exacerbated by Arundel’s contractual liability for repairs done at M. L. Day School over the last three years ($3 million) and paying for the $9 million renovation program presently underway at M.L. Day. Arundel taxpayers should be aware of the drastic impact withdrawal will have on their property taxes when this issue comes up for a vote on June 14.

Since the withdrawal attempt can’t be about improving any of the above – quality of education for Arundel, local control, or saving taxpayer money – I’m curious what proponents will say it is all about at the upcoming April 25 town meeting.

John Bell

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