Message from a Board Member

Thank you Dawn Merry, for sharing a Board member’s response to community concerns about Katahdin’s future: 

Philip Knowles
From Phillip Knowles Facebook page.. ·
This post is for anybody concerned with our local school system rsu 50. There has been gossip going around about the next school board meeting in a vote to close our local school. There was no item on this agenda. Never was. Some people spread some very bad misinformation at best. But we do have some very serious decisions to make in the next year or two. If you can please attend future school board meetings. Feel free to contact me I’m in the book. Or to the schools email system. I will not respond concerning school in this forum. Please repost share or copy and paste this to any forum you would like to.
Thank you.

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5 responses to “Message from a Board Member

  1. The decision whether or not to close Katahdin is, in fact, on the Agenda for discussion alongside other scenarios, with possible elimination of undesirable ones. See 9b.

    Just as the public can never be sure when and if a vote will or will not take place on ANY agenda item following discussion, no Board member can determine, ahead of time, that an Agenda item will NOT be subject to a vote.

    It is wildly inappropriate for a Board member to publicly promise that a vote of this kind will not take place on an item posted for consideration. Other Board members are free to make motions to the contrary.

    Please substantiate your claim that the decision on whether or not to close Katahdin will come in the “…next year or two..” and not in some other time frame. Nothing has been decided by the Board one way or another.

    It is up to the communities to decide if they will permit that sort of uncertainty for a “year or two”, with all the difficulties in attracting and retaining faculty and the Board’s admitted reluctance to invest in a school slated to close that would entail.

    Though I did not write the letter in question, that referenced the possibility of a vote, I did allow it to be published with the qualification that I had not yet seen the Agenda. People are intelligent enough to make up their own minds; sort out fact from fiction and, hopefully, many are ready to join the discussion and help shape the future of education in the region.

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  2. There should have been honesty from the get go. Great Schools Partnerships was a huge waste of money. People are not foolish, they know which school is on the chopping block.

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    • We’ve known for some time that Katahdin was on the chopping block – even officially! A number of scenarios, some of which the Board will decide to eliminate on Monday Jan. 12th. Whether or not any of the remaining scenarios include a future for Katahdin remains to be seen.

      Yes, some Board members would have liked to use that vote to “narrow” Katahdin from the field altogether…. We have that on unimpeachable authority, and we are grateful for the candor of those close to the action.

      Assurances like this one and the one from the Superintendent, pertaining to an outcome they do not, or should not, anyway, control are inappropriate.

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  3. Having attended many board meetings and task force meetings over the past two years, I can tell you that discussions have been ongoing on the scenarios of changes in the rsu. The board, as well as the public, have had this list of scenarios with supporting information in their hands for a very long time and have certainly formed an opinion on what they feel would work best. Some may be influenced by Mr. Malone’s presentation of the material and discussion. Some may have conducted their own research. Many may be waiting for the feasibility study that must be nearing it’s end to make a final decision. This is not a process that will likely take another year or two for decisions to be made, as Phil is suggesting and “pacifying.” As the scenarios are narrowed down (which has likely already happened for most people), things will move forward. Please board members and Mr. Malone, just be honest and forthcoming with your discussions and information. Yes, it took a message such as: “School Board voting on the closing of Katahdin at Jan. 12 meeting!” to get people interested and speaking out, but it worked, didn’t it!!?? Now, people, please stay involved and informed! Changes are necessary within rsu 50. Make sure your board reps know which changes you will support!

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    • Yes, those who believe in the fiscal and educational potential of small local schools will have to decide whether or not they want to fight for it.

      I have been hearing the word, “waiting” a bit more than usual “…waiting for facts…” Fact is, Katahdin is officially on the block and ongoing discussions in addition to reliable sources confirm that minds are made up.

      The community needs to lead, not follow the Board, and does not need Board permission to advocate for their children, their tax dollars and their schools.

      Schools are not closed with a single vote, or even series of votes; groundwork is laid over a period of months or even years. RSU 50 is a textbook case….

      The best time to save your school is before you are supposed to know it is closing.

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