From Our Series titled, “On the Table” – Scenario Option #2

“What do you know about building a new school?” ~Interview question posed to Mr. Larry Malone when he was a candidate for his current position.  …also the sound of the school closure train leaving the station…

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View “Scenario #2, as well as other Visions of the Futures Task Force, here:

RSU50Scenarios

The second option on the table for the Futures Task Force is “..building a new, PK-12 structure and ‘decommissioning’ all current school facilities in the RSU..” apparently “received a very strong endorsement from the FTF membership”.

Of course, as usual, no supporting research was offered.

The “benefits” they cite are listed below, contrasted with what the research actually says:

~”site neutrality” : According to the research, this will not look like any sort of advantage, come budget time.  Research highlights the increased difficulty in raising funds where communitie’s sense of ownership is diminished by both size and distance.

~”coordination of services” : This may help you fill you buzzword bingo card, but beyond that…. “coordinating” children from a 400+ square mile district under one roof is an anathema to efficiency and convenience.

Since I became involved in school issues, I’ve been struck by the adult-centered mindset.  In conversation with a Board member, for example, a brief mention of an AOS model of governance,  was met with, “Oh!  For a Superintendent that’s….!”  “…a pain in the butt..?” I finished.  “I know”.  Why was “Superintendent convenience” foremost in his mind? What about kids and taxpayers?  The closer decision makers are to kids, the more sense decisions make to them, their parents and communities.  Our readers have been very clear about who comes first in THEIR minds.

~”educational opportunities and staffing” : Research shows that that bigger is not better; larger schools do not necessarily offer more, and face diminished participation due to distance and more competition for available spots on sports teams, in plays and in classes.

~”creation of a new multi-community asset” : To which communities does this new “asset” belong?  Not to all of those that must pay for it, certainly, as distance undermines access a great deal.  Children are not regional units.

~”efficiencies that accompany a regional location” :  What is more inefficient, and archaic, from the standpoint of children and taxpayers than bussing long distances every day, that thwarts achievement and diminishes participation.  Research shows that these “regional” schools do not accomplish more, even in cases where they do offer more choices (which is not a given).  Participation rates clearly fall.  Yes, it is convenient, though certainly not more “efficient” for a Superintendent to have all his or her charges under one roof, but at what cost?

A regional perspective; assets that belong to everyone and no one; presents just one of many stark differences between the way children grow and learn, and the way people think.  Buildings don’t educate children, people do.  Parents who have seen their children go without will want to know why there is money for new construction but none for their kids….

Good luck with that.

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25 responses to “From Our Series titled, “On the Table” – Scenario Option #2

  1. I would say a new school is the final objective. Just because you put kids in a brand new building doesn’t mean their top heavy administrative bureaucratic nitpicking education gets any better. Kids are not first on their agenda.

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    • Centralized bureaucracies do not shrink; they grow. There is a reason why we are down 14+ faculty, but only .4 administrative positions since 2010. …and that doesn’t include positions that did not exist pre-RSU. How many of those involve spending the day with actual kids?

      Research is better than a crystal ball, and the research shows that, yes, the quality of education will not improve. The problems we are facing now will not go away, but will only worsen with increased size and distance.

      If this bureaucratic nightmare isn’t focused on kids now (and they are most certainly NOT) they will be less so at a more centralized, regional location.

      Small local schools are better for kids, communities, and, in fact, the “bottom line”.

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  2. New school,,, we do not need. Repair what we have with local contractors, not out side people who charge $10,000.00 just to drive up. In my days they would hire school boys to spread the roofing around with push-brooms, we had no leaks. 1 principal and 1 guidance consular over to sac, get rid of. Stop boring people with no-sense meetings. So when there is a cause to meet people will go. Treat these people with respect, not like a bunch of asssssssss!!! Put shop in, auto in home ck in. Teach them real education that will help them. Let them get fired up about school instead of gloom and doom. Mr. Ryan, i did not have to go to your meetings, people are starting to see, with open eyes. Now,,,,,,,,,, how do you and phil say it SET DOWN,,,AND LISTEN and READ all of the feelings that are on hear.You might learn something. Larry Larry Larry oh YA!

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    • Exactly. People here want to emulate Searsport, Easton, et. al. and make the most of our natural advantages. Teachers have said to me, from this district, “WE are the ones with the children! WE have the education and experience! Why won’t they LISTEN to us?” …a squandered opportunity.

      But this isn’t about kids. It never is. This is an economic development project for Island Falls. I worked in Economic Development before I became a mother. Chasing smokestacks and throwing money into them. I learned from the best that the most effective way to build your community and economy is to invest in K-12. They want to DIVEST from our infrastructure, our kids and our community.

      Worse they refuse even to invest optimally in kids while they pursue their stupid new building. They are using austerity at the child level to force support for a new building. Disgusting.

      I have no choice but to believe that Phil wants Katahdin to close. I can’t fathom otherwise without insulting his intelligence beyond what is reasonable. But, heaven forbid, any one of them man up and admit it.

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  3. Ya a meeting to set up for a meeting, task force—–what. really what? good idea, put the money back in the community. ya cut from the top down. give the freshman a honor roll you stupid B_____.

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    • You nailed it. You want your tax dollars in your community; they want your tax dollars in their own.

      “Lose your school. Lose your community.

      School administrative districts were no more than a scam and a few people have finally figured out that it would be nice to keep the control and the tax dollars in town. Oh, it would also be nice to keep the kids in town. But getting the control and the money back is the main thing. You will not get your schools back in town without a fight. There’s too much money at stake. And it’s fun to spend other people’s money.”

      ~Robert Karl Skoglund, “The Humble Farmer”

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  4. Its very clear on how to satisfy the community and the teachers and the kids. Are we ready, first the tax payers, cut the budget back to 2011, do repairs to the schools that are priority one. Using local contractors that is not trying to be Donald trump in one setting. Calling a real meeting not a smoke and mirrors meeting. Give our teachers a contract, so larry can not fire and hire to prove his point. Second,give the people the right to be heard, then take the i-pads to the pawn shop! Stay on the regular grading level until it is proven to work!!! [ 2020 ]. Then say that there sorry for not putting the freshman on the honor roll this year. Inter dose a new error of communication with our kids. When this is achieve then and only then will the people talk to the board about a tax hike. What was the OLD saying, STOP,, LISTEN,, and be HEARD. If this was done, the communication between parents, teachers, kids and ministration would be wide open. Then all town officials would see that the line of communication would be open and not bias. P.S. put the task force back to ncis, or the a-team. no what mean. The doors can be open, but when you acted like a ass, the vote is,,,,,,,,,NO.

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  5. little bridge

    BANG, ya, ok, snap, home run, way to say, like it, like it. Yes, that will do it, JT

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  6. You no, that would open allot of doors, JT. It would be kind of off the wall but it would show that there trying. That would be a big change.

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  7. on the money jt

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  8. JT, people are listen to you. it is working, getting up and walking out that night, shows your a man of his word. My wife and i like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. knowles corner

    could you smile once and a while. LOL

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  10. ISLANDFALLS RD

    Bottom line is, that they no your a threat to there agenda, you just dont care, that is messing with there heads. I heard what you said at island falls, they also heard you, my brother in-law told me. Watch your back JT.

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  11. You got more ba__s than me. JT thats it, on the money

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  12. Why are you putting your name out there, you have kids, right. OK
    you are on the money MR. TAPLEY, thanks for saying what we are all thinking.

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    • By standing for something publicly, we set an example of what citizenship is, which, lest we forget, is a main objective of public schools. When we do so on behalf of kids, we show them we care; that they are precious – it isn’t just words.

      Speaking only for myself, I would rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not. I wish I did not have to do all of this; that the principal and Superintendent were working for the same things our readers have so eloquently articulated on their aspirations for our children.

      I can’t do much without all of you, so, thank you.

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  13. This man does not care about anything but the kids, not just his, but all the kids. He is the definition of a maverick.

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  14. yep and he can fight to

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  15. That is the old days, my point is being, we all can do this, all of us.
    Some have different ways, but they all make a difference. That is why it was a NO vote. As far as my name being out there, i would not have it any other way. Im teaching my kids as i give my point of view on timber. Speak what you feel, it is the only way you can be heard.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Well something is working, because it was no.

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  17. I agree with lisa, it is going to come hard, he will not listen to the people. I heard through the grape vine, that he has already contacted the select men of sherman, on there next meeting. He does not listen. That big SALARY keeps him looking down at us. [ $109,000.00] a year………..CAN YOU IMAGINE….WATCH OUT, HE IS COMING HARD.

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    • He will retaliate – hard, and in ways that will hurt kids; their educational opportunities, and their feelings…. ….their view of how much they are valued by their community. I’ve learned a great deal as administrator of TC; how much people care, and what they want for our children.

      That expensive consultant was hired to ram further consolidation through, in case anyone was still confused. It is what GSP does; facilitate consolidations. While on the coast this weekend I found further evidence that this is a farce.

      Please, let’s get ahead of this together.

      Anyone planning to be at the Town Office on, I dunno, the 24th? Sharpen your pencil, and 97 of your TC friends will know what went on; how he tries to put the fear of God into the Selectmen…

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  18. Can already tell you his speech, maybe you people could cancel 1 or 2 vacations a year. How many family’s do go on vacation. How many of our elderly go on vacation. Maybe cancel a few barbecues, or walk instead of drive.Maybe some cat food instead of tuna. Can you guys and gals here me.

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  19. 24th, select meeting in sherman, i hear hes there.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Reblogged this on Timbered Classrooms… and commented:

    Here, we revisit each scenario of closure and consolidation that the Board will winnow down at the January 12th meeting. We begin with Scenario #2, because #1 is the status quo…. Of course this and all possibilities are always available by clicking “On the Table” at the top of the page. Included is the Futures Task Force’s analysis as well as our own, based on research also available under “School Consolidation”. We strive to offer as complete a picture as possible surrounding the issues at hand.

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