October 17, 2018
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Comments for: Bill would ease withdrawal from consolidated school districts

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  • I have an Idea The town should only pay as much towards kids tuition as the cheapest school that buses kids. Parents make up the rest. Sorry its a tough world I pay taxes . Yes i want the kids educated but it is not always the school fault when a kid fails . The school rating thing is a joke. It is mostly based on test scores not the dropout rate or the of the make up of the students.

  • Anonymous

    Taught for 40 years, including 12 years in Maine before retiring in June, largely because of the ongoing administrative stupidity that permeates the system.The available solutions are viable and include respect for vocational students, the tracking of careers, interests, and academic paths that award credit for mastered knowledge. Teachers who advocate for these and other strategies that have proven successful in the past are usually ignored and castigated for their thoughts. . This doesn’t have to be. Experienced teachers and newly certified teachers are leaving the profession in droves, due to the stagnation that all are forced to endure. The students, of course are always the losers. Was told by my building principal and the English Department Chair that a senior student doing well in my Special Education English class and who was a successful lobster fisherman, earning $30,000 a year was in fact a “failure” because he would surely need assistance when completing his fishing license. With this type of attitude can success be viable? Regardless of what you and your sons and daughters are told, if they don’t follow of the only path revered by those in charge they are considered failures and unsuccessful. RSUs contribute greatly to these problems as the existing scheme rewards power, control, and financial determinations. The needs of our local students are little more than statistical aberations to be bandied about. Those local communities who have always, or just recently begun to recognize the futility of the RSU dictatorship should have the path for disolution made as easy and stress free as possible. Only the rising of parents who are willing to appoint Board Educations willing to restructure a slanted foundation can forge a new path. Don’t really know if this is feasible, but without a new foundation, the structure of the current system will remain flawed. Ken

    • Anonymous

      It’s all about the fiefdoms! Take it from one who gave 20+ years to get absolutely no financial security, only a personal education out of it while beating my head on the wall trying to improve education. What good remains of all my lost work and the loss of the school itself this year? It is seeing my former students thriving and happy to see me because they had a good start with someone who cared. Want good schools? Kick out the feds with their paperwork demands and the ego-driven superintendents and let teachers teach children rather than look over their shoulders and keep their mouths shut and their heads down so they can continue to teach in Maine.

      • Anonymous

        Well said and well understood. What I consistently told student teachers under my tuteledge during my years was that teaching, while the most noble of avocations remains a horrible profession to be part of. The trick, in as much as it is possible, is to keep the two venues as apart as practical.. I think that all of us who have contributed through the years must take comfort and pride in the service to their students, and to the higher order of educational priorities. Ken

  • Anonymous

    You’re right, RSU’s were set up to save money.  What is wrong with that?   The problem lies with “local control” advocates who want their little tykes to walk only 2 blocks away from home and enter a world class school system.  Sadly, a great deal of our meager tax resources are going to fund the building of these ridiculously expensive schools rather than paying teachers a wage based on value added to our society.

    • sassyfrazz

      No. This has cost taxpayers MORE.  Several hundred dollars more tacked onto their property tax bills. So uh, uh.  Follow the money.  Until they stop mandating everything they then refuse to pay for, any supposed ‘savings’ will end up costing more.

      I do agree with you on teacher pay and not building ridiculous buildings, but this consolidation was just more sound and fury signifying nothing but a large increase in my property taxes and major loss of control of our school.

      PS: My ‘little tykes’ do indeed walk themselves to school, and so do many others who live too close to the school.  We don’t have a problem with that at all.  Those who are driving the disbanding of consolidation are not simply whining parents as they are often portrayed as being.

      • Anonymous

        I feel certain saying that if the local control advocates let the RSU’s do their job you will see a cost savings reflected in you taxes. Would taxes increase under RSU control of the schools?  Probably.  The cost of everything is going up and, agree or not, new schools that cost way too much are continuing to be built.  So taxes will probably increase either way.  But it is certain that they would not increase as much under consolidation.

        • sassyfrazz

          Not only has my tax bill gone up roughly by $400 the year after consolidation alone, it will more than likely result in a sharp mill rate increase coming up (already predicted) and with the lopsided distribution sham that is “weighted voting” – my town will most definitely take the biggest bite of all.  So yes, we’re going to pay either way.  Thanks to weighted voting, our town will have to simply shut the heck up and follow along, and I predict more empty subdivision houses. I also see another part-time job to help pay for the taxes in my future.  Am I whining? No.  I’ve worked two jobs for the majority of my life.  I’m sick of going deeper into debt because a handful of powerful people seem to have the foresight of a 2 X 4. My ire rests more with the fact that the state was running out of money LONG before consolidation came along, and “we the lemmings” allowed them to strong-arm us into this ridiculous situation to begin with.   So much for ‘of the people, by the people.”

          Were you aware of the process that the towns had to go through with this state in order to consolidate?  It was nothing short of criminal.

          If you or I tried to extort and threaten the state like they did to the towns, we’d be sitting in a jail cell right now.  At some point we must say “enough” since we are going to pay through the nose anyway.   

          • Anonymous

            Much of what you say makes sense, I don’t dispute that.  It truly is sad the way small town politics, and regional too, make it so hard on people.  I used to live in Bucksport and in less than 10 years my taxes doubled.  Part mill rate, part property assessment, in real dollars it doubled.  Some of my friends experienced even higher increases.  $60,000 swing sets, town recreation department, new schools with declining enrollment, a boardwalk, the list is endless and this all cost’s everyone money.   Most recent is the (eventually) free money to rehab a building downtown.  Yes, some funds are state, some federal, but I actually heard one town official say the money was free because it came from the federal government.  I pay federal taxes too!  So many of us have left Bucksport.  However I still believe that consolidation is, in principal, a good way to save precious tax dollars. This savings is being defeated by the “local control” crowd who, like I said above, want world class schools on every street corner.  If  you speak out against them they cry that you are putting money before the children.  It is the third rail of small town politics and, as this BDN story attest’s to, they are getting their way.

          • sassyfrazz

            I understand and also agree with what you’re saying, but many of the parent groups in this state who are behind this push aren’t pushing just because they are looking for the newest, greatest, and most expensive schools and services (although obviously I can’t and won’t speak to all).  Yes, there will always be the “Joneses” who foolishly want the best of everything.  I agree.

            I think many of the towns (0urs included) do not want to end up on the losing end of the stick each and every time we have a vote.  We already know it’s going to cost us dearly.  I don’t think this would be as contentious issue had the state not force-fed this down the towns throats. This situation came to be largely because the state fed towns a line about fully funding what they originally said they were going to up until the point where they could no longer string towns along due to the total tanking of the economy.  The people went on to vote to force them to ante up.  This was their answer.  I’m a realist.  I know this was because the revenue of the state had hit the absolute breaking point.  Yes, the whole ‘free money’ theory that some ignorant people like to recite makes me angry too, and I never hesitate to point that out to people who have said things like that to me.

            Additionally, it was alarming how vote distrubution laws were forced, and how the “divorce clause” was intentionally made with ridiculous hoops to jump through in order to leave.  I understand the premise behind making it difficult, but I rather resent the fact that a handful of people thought they were the end all be all, and they were going to do what they wanted regardless of what those who pay them wanted. 

            I watched this whole process unfold – way back.  I watched people tear their hair out trying to work with what the state handed them.   These were business people in varying professions who knew how to run a successful operation.  They knew how to save money, and they also knew that there were many ways to save money other than such drastic measures.  Their opinions were largely tossed in the round file.  That angers me.  These people were not *stupid* parents who wanted glitzy education. 

            This (IMO) drives the frustration behind this movement more than simply crying about local control.  And so, with that, I’ll bow out of the conversation because really, there is no way to actually quantify the savings or lack of savings that consolidation (or subsequent withdrawal) will bring, but I will not be surprised if any supposed ‘savings’ comes well after I’m gone.  In the meantime, I’ll either slash the household budget again or be perusing the want ads because I’m stuck here either way.

  • Anonymous

    Districts in RSUs should run like deer!!!!! 50% to get in but 75% to get out??? Nutty…and shows it was NEVER about education in the first place…all about saving a buck for Wacky Balcakky and his goon Gendron and passing the increased costs ON TO YOU.

    It you’re in an RSU…push your city/town/whatever to GET OUT OF IT!!! Here’s a question to ask your RSU/city or town: How much does your town contribute to the RSU and how much of the RSU spending flows back to your town. If you are in a larger town or city in an RSU you might find that you may be responsible for 30% of the COST of an RSU but that only 20% or so of RSU spending actually goes to the schools in your town…In other words you’re paying the bill for tiny schools in other town to stay open for their 30 kids…GET OUT!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      If you would look at the costs that small “bedroom” communities are paying to allow the large city to close their smaller schools, you will see that the cities, not the small towns, are the blood-sucking leaches killing local education.  

  • Anonymous

    After all that work in forcing schools to consolidate. Here we go again.

  • Guest

    We need to track down every last one of the rogues who voted for this consolidation fiasco and ride them out of town on a rail.

    •  The consolidation “architect” is already out of town, at his cushy new Pentagon job. Baldacci and Susan Gendron were responsible for the consolidation fiasco.

  • Anonymous

    R eally                                                                                                                                                                                S tupid                                                                                                                                                                               U ndertaking                                                                                                                                                                                      

  • Anonymous

    Too many chiefs, not enough Indians. The move to RSU’s was in part a good idea – good for the taxpayer – not so good for the students. It was supposed to consolidate the administrations so that there would be fewer chiefs and thus more money for the Indians and programs. Support staffs were to be streamlined so that fewer support staff department heads would be needed. That rarely took place. School system administration did not shrink, it merely shifted titles around and added new titles to keep everyone around. What happens to any structure that is top-heavy is that it topples.  As it has panned out, it wasn’t such a good idea for taxpayers either.
    Local control of schools is a long-lost concept – one we used to debate when I was a student. Once the state and the fed started making laws about schools, local control was lost. Yes we still have local school boards but they have very limited powers compared to what they used to have. Progress isn’t always progressive.

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