Our student authors remain the most-read here on Timbered Classrooms for a reason! Please welcome this one; listen, learn, and scroll down to participate in a thoughtful survey created by students, as they find their civic feet….
13 weeks, 12 weeks, 11 weeks…Currently, the countdown for summer vacation has began in the halls of Katahdin High School. As the third quarter comes to an end, not much has changed within the building. Student morale is still flatline and fear for the future of our school district is still widespread. Staff resignations and retirements are flying in as expected, leaving many students wondering what is next. As budget time nears, fear as to what the next round of cuts will hold is starting to spread through the halls. However, with recent news, one would think the budget isn’t suffering!
Recently, the news of a 2% raise in the superintendent salary has struck the student body hard. Bringing the total salary of the RSU 50 superintendent to $109,000 annually, the school board voted all but one for this raise. While this may seem fine to some, I recently learned that our superintendent makes $17,000 more annually than the superintendent of RSU 29 in Houlton. This is shocking to me that someone who is new on the job in a district of half the size has a 17% higher salary. What does this have to do with the student body? Last year, the students and parents were addressed by the board and superintendent with a string of budget cuts and warnings for more to come for the school year 2014-2015. This is leaving students to question why it is there end of the rope that is getting shortened while the administration is getting raises. Many students including myself feel as though this raise is coming at the cost of our education’s, yet again. The majority of the students feel as though the administration doesn’t care and ignores our needs. The only people who try to speak out for us are some of the teachers, many of which are leaving because of no job security or their own frustrations. Some aren’t leaving because it’s their choice, but because of “budget deficits.” Just this year, there have been multiple position cuts. Class offerings are few and far between, leaving many to take classes they don’t even care for. We all know that next year will most likely only be worse.
I would like to think that things are going to get better. However, as a junior I am left to only hope that I can wake up tomorrow and be walking down the aisle for graduation. My freshman year was wonderful. I use to love getting up in the morning to go to school. I loved all of my classes, and at the time our administration wasn’t corrupt. The teachers were all great and I learned everyday! Anytime that I had an opportunity to challenge myself, I took it. I had an endless ambition to be an involved student, and I would step up to the plate at any chance I got. At the time, we had a different principal and superintendent who put the students before their salaries. Times have changed immensely since then. I struggle getting up each morning for school, and only come in to see my friends. I only have three teachers who I feel are worthy of their salary. I lack that ambition which once drove me to enjoy my classwork. As a junior, I have literally ran out of classes to take at Katahdin that I have interest in. Next year, I will barely be able to fill my schedule with classes, most likely being forced to take something I have no interest in. Sadly, I am not an outlier in this situation, but a majority along with the rest of my class. The only positive thing out of my junior year was Region Two. Every student that I know who goes to Region Two dreads their day at Katahdin. It is a sad reality, but this is becoming commonplace.
Less than five years ago, my class had over thirty students. As it stands now, we have 25 students. I know of quite a few who plan on transferring, being homeschooled, or moving out of the area to escape the school district. My class is by far an exception in this situation. Many families have began withdrawing their students from RSU 50. A number of families have moved away from the area to a better school district, while many have allowed their students to travel to schools such as Houlton. There are a few families who even took it upon themselves to homeschool their children. As it stands, I know of four large families who plan on taking their kids out of the district at the start of the next school year. RSU 50 needs change quickly!
Please help speak up for the students of our school district. School should be able to be a place where the students can flourish and learn new knowledge and skills. We need a change in administration and an end to the corruption. The administration is suppose to be here for the students, not for themselves! Parents and community members, please come to the board meetings and help the students speak out. We can only speak our opinions, but you are the voters who truly speak for us! We need every community member in the RSU 50 district to win this battle for the students before it is too late! We all want our school back. The clock is ticking, will you help us?
Please take this student survey and share your opinion! https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5DRS7M5