“Where Have All The Savings Gone…?”

Image“….Long Time Passing….” is certainly an apt description of School Consolidation, which began long before Governor Baldacci ran with it  (maybe even before he began school himself).  Neither he, nor other policymakers ever looked for proof — hard, empirical evidence that rural school consolidation actually saves money and helps kids.  This data exists, whether we like it or not, and holds the potential to spare us the consequences of our own assumptions.  It isn’t what we don’t know about school consolidation that inflicts the harm; it’s what we know for sure that just isn’t true.

“Timbered Classrooms” curates some very interesting reading on the subject, to cultivate deeper understanding of the issue, and is tagged accordingly.

Here, though, we offer numbers specific to RSU #50, and build on the budgets we displayed in MSAD to RSU “Where are the Savings?”.

2010-2011 School Budgets Compared

2012-13 & 2013-2014 Budgets Compared

Again, we offer these raw numbers sans comment, and hold them up to your judgement.

Advertisements

187 responses to ““Where Have All The Savings Gone…?”

  1. I have a question? To all staff members, parents, some of the board members, and the readers of this site.When you here your selves and others say statements like, i work there, don’t want my kids targeted, do not want him looking at ME. Then why is it alright for our kids
    to put up with this CRAP????????????? STAND UP, BE HEARD,
    NO MATTER WHAT.

    Like

  2. Your right, Mr.Tapley. But this is not a cop out, between my job and time with the family doesn’t give me much time for anything. Let alone meetings that go no ware, or listen to malone talk about nothing. I no i am not alone on this. I try to stay involve with the things that i hear. But the stuff thats going on over there, is very overwhelming. Just the stuff i hear, how do they not no this is no good. My kids wont even talk to me about that place. My husband a i have to ask all the time. This is my first response ever, but i hear you loud and clear.

    Like

    • Whether they know, or don’t know this stuff is “no good” for kids is immaterial — it isn’t of course, but it IS good for some people, and they are very vocal….

      People like yourself, who care deeply about their children’s education often don’t realize how much good they do when they engage, even in ways that seem small to them. Every letter to the Board, every phone call to a principal or Board representative — every question asked, every conversation; matters more than you know.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts:)

      Like

  3. I feel the same way. Theirs allot that goes with being vocal. Time, looking over your shoulder, wondering about what this day will bring.
    Is it fair to my kids, that i might bring attention to them. I hope this will change over their. I cant see my kid on the bus all that time.

    Like

    • People have told me, “Oh, that’s too far for kids to travel — they wouldn’t do that to them!” To their own children, no, and that’s why consolidation supporters are largely of a “THEY should come HERE” mindset…. The history of school consolidation is full of examples of unconscionable bus rides, because your child, in their view, brings money into their community at the end of that bus ride…

      They may be well-intentioned, telling parents of the shuttered school and even themselves that there is more opportunity; more AP classes, for example, at the end of that long haul. But history shows that scale advantage is so tiny, and gobbled up by more transportation costs, and more bureaucracy — in research that was done when diesel fuel cost just over $1 per gallon. Today? Such promises are sure to be broken.

      Is it fair to kids? Of course not. They aren’t driving the proverbial “bus” — we are.

      Like

  4. Theirs no cop out when it comes to watching out for your kids. Its good that you ask, it shows you are involved. Being vocal does come with a price. But they need to no, that you no, that this is wrong. My self i don’t care what they say or what they do,I no that there wrong and i wont let them FORGET IT.

    Like

  5. concernedparentalso

    We share the same views on all of this.It just seems that we are not heard by them or other parents. I have to believe they are watching and listening. But like you have said there is a price.

    Like

    • The worst advice I have ever received is “…go along to get along; keep your head down and you’ll be O.K….” ….as if others will suddenly begin to respect me and guard my interests if I become a doormat?

      I have a pretty egalitarian view of the world, and see virtue in questioning authority. I do not consider it disrespectful at all, and stand by the way I have conducted myself.

      You know what they want to do, so you know “the price” of silence; of deference.

      I refuse to allow my children to pay it.

      Like

  6. They are reading everything on this site.

    Like

  7. I hope you are right!!!! Malone, board members, hang on, we are not going away. You are going to be held accountable for your actions.
    ADVISE———–Stop making our kids school years regrettable.They deserve every opportunity for a great education. The gloom and doom has to go, if you get my drift. [ smiles on these faces, of our children
    are needed big time ]

    Like

  8. We do have to stand together for our kids as parents – truly no one else is going to. I know in the old days kids went to school, parents never questioned teachers or administration, and kids just put up with whatever was going on. But, times have changed and parents are more involved than ever in their kid’s education. We are demanding high quality, moral teachers and administrators. Our kids don’t have a lot of choices in course offerings at KHS as we are a small school. I am ok with that as long as what they are getting is quality learning and strong leadership from administration, with respect going both ways. Fortunately, we do have some of these people employed and our kids are benefiting for which I am grateful. However, it is the negative that gets our attention and we begin to question what is going on! Administration and board members need to hear from us on a regular basis – it is the only way they will stay informed and then they can’t say “you’re the only parent I have heard this from.”

    Like

    • I think parents have always questioned, though much of it was done differently. They knew their local Board member, who represented one school; one community… They were more attuned and could afford to be more responsive than a member of a Board representing conflicting interests. There was more trust in the system, and certainly more trust in teachers — that SHOULD return and soon! They are professionals, after all.

      “You’re the only parent I have heard from…” Is often intended to marginalize and dismiss — and is as often untrue! How on Earth would you know? We can talk to each other, sign on to each other’s letters, submit polls etc. All correspondence should be copied to multiple people, if not signed by many.

      Like

      • I hope you are right that the administration and Malone read this sight. I don’t think they care, but at least they know we do.
        Our kids at KMHS deserve to have a great education, not be nitpicked to death by administration. What is the goal? Do they want kids to learn? Or do they just want to control everything they do and say? Why can’t we just have some transparency. The Science Fair, that is a joke. I have a freshman. They are all doing the same thing. Hasn’t even been able to work on it at home.
        I will say that sometimes it is hard to want to say too much, because I feel like they don’t want to listen. Parental involvement is not welcome unless it comes with a pat on the back. Our kids deserve to have a great education.

        Like

        • Parental involvement is vital to the best schools. It should be more welcome, the support as well as the critical.

          Welcome or not, the kids come first and they need our involvement here. Taxpayers too! They do not want their dollars divested from their community.

          Like

  9. What is THEIR goal? Close Katahdin.

    A school governed by people who do not believe Katahdin should exist, and who are aggressively draining it of resources….. In order to shutter it, they feel the need to control the narrative. What sort of environment is THAT for a child’s optimal learning?

    They tell you — and themselves, that “…kids will be better off in the long run..”. Even if that were true, (and the research says otherwise) kids don’t have the luxury of time.

    So what is YOUR goal? No, they don’t want to listen, but maybe what “they want” should matter less? ….by making what the community wants matter more.

    A parent of a student in a school that is the envy of the State said that a guidance counselor met with parents on day one, and said, “I want you to be all up in our business!” Good relationships are better for everyone, but you have to build them by reaching out. No effort is too small, and no effort is wasted……

    Like

  10. I have another point, we certainly have not saved any money purchasing iPads., which are toys by the way. They cannot take them home unless they get permission, which is given to some kids but not others. So glad our tax dollars are used to fund toys. My children would have rather kept the laptops. How do they work on homework, Science Fair (a joke especially for freshmen) if they can’t bring them home?!

    Like

  11. The hole place is a joke, and no difference at sacs. kids are trying to get out early over there. This is gone to far.

    Like

  12. concernedparentalso

    YES IT HAS, GONE TO FAR, THE DAMAGE HAS BEEN DONE.

    Like

    • I agree it has gotten out of hand. But I still have hope. If we stand together and speak out and keep involved, I am cautiously optimistic. This has definitely been the worst two years I have seen since Mr. Malone came on board. I would also like hard proof that we have saved money when we joined the RSU. If I am correct, I believe we are spending a lot more.
      I think worse than that is the decline in our children’s education, and their right to speak up without being chastised or mocked. I will leave with one thought. Adults working with kids should show some maturity and understand that just because they disagree doesn’t mean you get to treat them poorly.

      Like

      • If we stand up, get involved and work together, your optimism doesn’t need caution.

        I’ve been reading about the effects of the RSU Law on Ellsworth and came across a quote from Dr. Gordon Donaldson, Professor Emeritus of the University of Maine, and he said the way to address low student achievement is parent involvement, and that consolidation undermines that….

        This administration has been terrible at cultivating those relationships, because the Superintendent knows he is pursuing an agenda that serves others to the North at the expense of Katahdin’s children and taxpayers. They can’t simultaneously reach out to parents in any real way, and shore up the secrecy and control they need to divest from Katahdin.

        We can, and must build those bridges here, and keep them open. Support the good things; volunteer, and stand up and fight what is objectionable — and support each other in those efforts. I’m as likely to bake a gingerbread or volunteer as a chaperone as I am to write a critical blog post or letter to the editor, or speak at a Board meeting….. …all good and all for the kids.

        Over time, strong relationships will prevent many of the issues we are facing now. We will always struggle at times, but this is systemic.

        Things will improve if we want them to.

        Like

    • But it isn’t “done”. Our children won’t get the time back that they have spent in less-than-ideal conditions (to put it mildly!) but the damage is just beginning. “What you allow is what will continue.”

      What will the next years bring students, taxpayers and the community at large?

      Like

  13. STEM FAIR,,,,,,,,,,,,,A JOKE. THE PRINCE ABLE COULD NOT OR WOULD NOT SHOW. KHS IS A JOKE NOW.

    Like

  14. Not funny is it?

    I was so looking forward to the STEM Fair, but Herman could not make it home in time (We only have the one car.). I hope the community turned out for it the way they have in past years; support the kids…..

    I am glad our oldest got to go. He is in Grade 7, and the wheels are turning for next year!

    Whatever the principal’s reasons for not attending, it is up to the community to make Katahdin NOT “a joke” and certainly NOT a place that is being deliberately starved of resources. For the kids caught in the middle of this, it isn’t a dress rehearsal. We need to come together and shape an environment for them to grow to their “best bloom”.

    Like

  15. It was sad, the kids put allot of effort into it. For her not to show only tells me one thing. She did NOT want to be with the parents. Where she might be confronted on issues. [ I REALLY BELIEVE THAT ].
    This hole thing is out of CONTROL.

    Like

    • Parents have a way of confronting issues…. No one can really hide from that, and that’s not a bad thing. Parental involvement may be inconvenient certainly, but should be embraced because kids and communities are better for it.

      I’m happy to hear the kids put a lot of effort into their projects, because they likely got a lot out them as well. The more community members attended, too, the better. I’ve always been heartened by the turnout at Science Fairs past.

      The whole thing is out of control? It’s time for the community to take it back.

      Like

  16. Yes, the things that i heard last night, that’s going on over there, are head turning and very disturbing. I am really leaning towards home schooling. Do you realize that there is 5 of our children leaving this year for other schools. I no of these kids and they are great kids. But they have been beating down by this new system of malones. You can see it in the parents eyes. They don’t want to go, but they have no choice. Why cant this school board not see this. There is no way these people care for our kids. [ last night proved that ] This prince able has to go, with the science teacher, and malone.

    Like

  17. So you attended the STEM Fair? I would be very interested to hear more about it. What made it “disturbing”?

    I wish you well, whatever you decide to retain your children in school, or homeschool. I’m sure you understand that the issues here affect everyone, though, whether they have children in school or not. Taxes, potential loss of control over money, loss to local businesses and community…. The list goes on.

    Wow! 5 children:( If I may, what other schools are they attending? Are they moving, or being transported out?

    I know how those parents feel! I had been considering the Maine School Of Science and Mathematics for our oldest; what a good fit! But as I watched our three walking up the driveway from the bus I imagined him not being there. You would have seen it in my eyes, certainly.

    We all have to do what is best for our children, on an individual level, but I hope you, and the parents of whom you speak, will not turn completely inward; taking everything on your shoulders alone. Isolation dilutes the political and civic power necessary to build strong communities and schools.

    I hope all of you will convey to the Board, personally, what you have told me. They will be moved, as I am.

    Like

  18. The 5 kids that i no of, some are going and moving to east millinocket and the others are going to bangor. The fair was good, only because of the children. When i looked at the parents they were happy for there kids. But the talk was about the prince able not being there. The teachers that were there were very helpful in getting the kids ready. But lisa, there is only a few. Some were looking for info, some were,,,, i don’t no. I speak for myself, when i say theirs allot more with malone agenda than meets the eye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

    • It wouldn’t surprise me if Benedicta’s children ended up at Schenck, my own alma mater. The scenarios now being considered, shuffling kids around, perhaps going to two different schools 20+miles apart. Benedicta would need a second bus to take some kids to Dyer Brook and others to Katahdin’s campus. East Millinocket is only half as far, and children of all ages are housed together — one bus + less distance =

      Teachers have long been the guardians of children’s interests, and have shielded them from misguided administrators forever — I am thankful for them!

      The Superintendent will leave nothing to chance, certainly. You are right. People don’t see but the tip of the iceberg that is his agenda.

      Like

  19. I have a little problem with some of these posts.I hear every thing you guys and ladies are saying. But we all have to remember one thing, this is supposed to be our children s years of growing, problem solving, learning, exciting times, and the best education they can possibly get. We can not let this over shadow them. We all have to make sure that these are years to remember. So they can teach there kids to push through trying times and defend right from wrong.
    As they learn from us, NOT THEM, they are watching and learning the way of life.Do not let the fight for them become there fight. We as parents and taxpayers can win this without dragging them down.

    Like

    • …an important point to be sure.

      Not only can we win without dragging them down, by doing so we show them that they matter and nullify the negative messaging they inevitably internalize from the conduct of this administration.

      Like

  20. Now that will make you think, well said jerry

    Like

  21. concernedparentalso

    Talk about a motivator, and first thing in the morning. WOW.
    BRAVO well said.

    Like

  22. NOW THAT’S WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT
    WELL SAID JERRY

    Like

    • About the Science Fair, there were some good projects. The 8th grade projects were terrific. Some of the High School were good. But what was so poor were the freshmen, not their fault. Their teacher had them do the same thing Density. They were not supposed to work on it at home, she didn’t give them a lot of direction and not enough time to work on it. Therefore the quality suffered. Why not let the kids pick their own topics, them they will be interested and engaged. My daughter could have cared less. How about inspiring them to work hard. Our kids deserve a great science teacher and a great science program at Katahdin. Parents are starting to speak up.
      Three years ago the science fair had terrific projects. This teacher needs to go, terrible teacher.
      If your expectations are high kids will rise to the occasion. I believe we can change things here, but we have to keep challenging administration when issues arise.

      Like

  23. concernedparentalso

    Would you like a SUPERINTENDENT job. lol. well done jerry

    Like

  24. Yes the freshman did get robbed bad this year. that’s reason enough to let her go. When kids are targeted like that, theirs no room here for her.

    Like

  25. It seems to me that every body is on the same page. So lets do this.
    Lets take our schools back.

    Like

  26. I heard what was going on here, down to herbs. Had to come take a peek. wow. pressure cooker .

    Like

    • Welcome!

      ..or maybe a place to release a bit steam from the “pressure cooker”?

      We hope you have enjoyed our site, which is meant to host and inform the sort of conversations you hear at Herbs as people grapple with the issues at hand – together.

      Like

  27. concernedparentalso

    Well it was just a matter of time, kids are getting it hard from this ministration. Not just here, but sacs to. This will be there down fall.
    And they all will fall hard.

    Like

  28. Yes i to think its the beginning of the end. And i cant wait for it to happen.

    Like

  29. concernedparentalso

    I think that the state is going to step in.

    Like

    • There are a number of ways the State can intervene to ameliorate the negative consequences of the RSU Law; ..and people taking advantage of the law to serve themselves…. I hope our readers engage with our representatives on this, and the sooner the better.

      Like

  30. Well the beginning has started. One of the five has gone to bangor. Left this weekend. She was a fresh-man, the stem fair was the last straw.She was a great student and a person. But she needed a education, not term oil. This is so WRONG in every sense. Do not listen to me, read the words. This is NOT RIGHT. Stand up for these kids. Lets be HEARD.

    THE HOLE TOWN

    Like

  31. As a parent who has already lobbied Benedicta’s Superintendent to send kids to Houlton…. I don’t blame the family a bit.

    But we have to remember, that while the departure of one student does not decrease the needs of a school at all, it does decrease the resources available; we will have to fight all the harder for the children who remain here.

    You know, I hear all the time about how “school choice…” “…empowers parents…”, but there are two strategies here: First, we have to look to the best interests of our own children, make decisions in our own families… be a smart “consumer”. But we cannot forget the other vital role we hold, whether we have children in school or not, and that is our responsibility as “citizens” to shape the public realm.

    Yes, let’s be heard.

    Like

  32. I do hear you c, the loss of one child is a great loss. Fighting this system is not going to be easy. We are going to have losses, but we have to fight the fight. I feel bad for the parents also. Trying to raise there children in a small safe town instead of the cites. And being forced out by a system that is allowed to come in and turn every thing up side down. I hear you, and no what you are saying.

    Like

    • What could be worse than children, taxpayers and communities losing out? These things aren’t easy, but you know that old saying about “many hands”? It’s amazing what we can accomplish together.

      When, (not “if”!) we win, the relationship between the Board and Community will be better; a Board with a healthy respect for the aspirations of the people who elect them will make better decisions.

      Also, a Board that represents the same people is better too! Some members of the Board are looking out for the interests of taxpayers and children in THEIR communities and school, and they will use as much of YOUR money to do it! ..while your children go without, and taxpayers go broke.

      Like

  33. Hey ladies and gents. Lets make it real clear who let this system in. When this first come down from our state house it was told by our selectmen that the sky was falling, our taxes was going to fly up, up,
    up, because of the FINE. Well got some breaking news, the fine was not as big as we are paying now. People that talk and do not walk the walk, are the people screaming, we have to do this. There was no looking into this in any way shape or form. Then our great sherman REP. mr knowles back it up.This is a man who feels great when he goes after a young lady, that just is looking out for her kids. He really feels that we are supposed to set there and listen to his CRAP. Well this is where we are,our friends kids, our neighbors kids,our GRAND KIDS, our KIDS, are now paying the price.

    I FEEL GREAT, DO YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

    • Worse, the State has since eliminated the penalties altogether, sparing other communities, who rejected consolidation, the very fines people here have gone broke after a desperate vote to avoid.

      We went through such a time in Benedicta in 2005, but learned a great deal. Research is like a crystal ball, and we predicted that schools would be reaching into other communities, looking for kids and money to fund their infrastructure…

      I was wrong about one thing though.

      I predicted that Boards equally weighted would be fighting tooth and nail over a now-shared pot of money, but no one would have the power to close the other. What happened was worse. People familiar with the issue could see what Mr. Malone was doing; divesting from Katahdin to ultimately shutter it, driving truckloads of your tax money North. But instead of fighting for Sherman children and taxpayers, Mr. Knowles rode shotgun. …firing at anyone who objected.

      Someone ought to buy him a beer, so he’ll stop drinking the Kool-Aid….

      Sadly, he and others on the Board who rely solely on the Superintendent, for expertise have been played like a cheap violin.

      Like

  34. Wow, wow, holy crap, Man do not hold back.
    Good job, Mr. Tapley

    Like

  35. Please do not take this the wrong way. Allot people say they do not want to be targeted, or there kids. How come Mr. Tapley and Lisa say the stuff they say, and not worry, and sign there name. Im very
    puzzled. They also have kids.

    Like

    • Oh, I don’t think anyone will take offense. A Superintendent does have disproportionate power in a community where the school is a major employer. Everyone’s situation is different, and some have more to lose than others. It really is a personal decision, but the good news is, there is always something you can do. Those who stand up at meetings and tell it like it is, are vital, certainly, and no one does that better than Jerry Tapley. We do need more of that! Not even he can do this alone, and a great deal happens behind the scenes, in conversations with Board members, letters (always to more than one person), letters to the editor, supporting each other and, yes, even posting here!

      Without YOU, the RSU 50 leadership would not be concerned at all with “Timbered Classrooms”. I’m just a housewife with no power.

      But they ARE concerned, because our readers and writers DO have the power to show them where the bear &^$% in the buckwheat.

      Like

  36. concernedparentalso

    This is lisas web site, Mr Tapley does not care.
    Have you met him.

    Like

    • Oh, no — I just administer it. It belongs to everyone, to learn, speak out and support each other… It is the input of all of our authors, commenters and readers that paint a vivid picture of community will.

      Mr. Tapley has demonstrated an astute understanding of the effects of consolidation, and a willingness to do what needs to be done to stop them.

      Like

  37. Malone, knowles, and rayan has. That was GOOD. LOL

    Like

  38. I was there, he backed lisa all the way. He told the board every thing on his mine.

    Like

    • He said so much that was just crying out to be said; what that Board didn’t want to hear, but desperately needed to. They likely heard, because, except for Jerry, you could have heard a pin drop on that Board table.

      Like

  39. Thank you, but the thanks goes to lisa, she maid this possible, for all of us. Thanks Lisa.

    Like

    • Thank YOU. I don’t have a vote, or any power. …but three children in this district and a bit of a Cassandra complex as I see them hurt by oft-repeated mistakes of consolidation.

      I am happy to do everything I can.

      Like

  40. Hi, so what can we do. How do we turn up the heat. Im new and nervous.

    Like

    • Hi, and welcome!

      No need to be nervous — you are among friends here.

      There are any number of things you can do, and they all matter more than you might realize.

      Conversations with neighbors, and Board members in and outside of meetings… We have hosted several surveys and polls on “Timbered Classrooms” that I always share with the leadership.

      Perhaps you have an idea how you can help we haven’t thought of. Wherever your strengths lie, you are needed! …and our readers are here to support each other.

      I know our readers would like to know more about your specific concerns, so please, feel free to share your thoughts with us.

      Thank you very much for your interest.

      Like

  41. You can start by talking to every body you no.

    Like

  42. What ever you do, do not contact the board. It only has 3 people. Malone, Knowles, ryan, the rest don’t matter. They are just filling slots.

    Like

    • The three Board members you mention, certainly DO have a nasty habit of taking more power than they are entitled to, but I detect some healthy skepticism on the part of other board members; more questioning. This is a very good sign, and they need your support to continue.

      I would certainly connect with them in any way you like, but maybe email more than one? You would want to avoid, “You’re the only one I’ve heard this from…” ….and remembering the petition that a student handed the Superintendent personally. As it was the only copy, into the round file it went. (It was a teachable moment, to copy others.)

      A famous leader once said to a group of concerned citizens who came to him, “I agree with you, I want to do it. Now go out there and make me do it.”

      They need you to make them do it.

      Like

  43. Isn’t that the truth.

    Like

  44. So if the state don’t care and lapage don’t care, and theirs no fines.
    Why is this still going on?????????????

    Like

    • The RSU was formed; whether or not you want to dissolve it is up to you. There is a process to it, and I hope our State representatives will help make it as easy as possible.

      The decision to stay in an RSU, or leave should not be about the difficulty of going through withdrawal; any more than the decision to join should have been about fear of penalties.

      Partnerships that followed an AOS model, where schools retain their own Boards and money but share central offices, and whatever else have been more successful, and one that enjoys support here.

      The travesty of RSU governance is the way it wiped out school boards, thereby wiping out the policy makers closest to YOUR children, and YOUR tax dollars.

      https://atimberedchoir.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/all-i-want-for-christmas-is-my-two-2/

      Like

  45. They could if they wanted to, but they got a taste of the money.

    Like

    • “They”? YOU can if you want to. Likewise if communities on the SACS side wanted to they could.

      It is entirely your decision, and that of your communities — not those from whom you seek to separate, and certainly NOT the RSU Board.

      Like

  46. That is right, some would have to eat crow, some taxes would go up
    and sherman money would be taken away.

    Like

    • RSU Governance, by it’s very nature, creates winners and losers, and withdrawal would likely shift that dynamic again. I cannot imagine how it would be LESS equitable than the RSU. Clearly Sherman has seen its taxes rise, but not for the benefit of their children, who go to Katahdin. They see those dollars headed to SACS.

      Children are not regional units, and dollars don’t serve all equally even within a school. …..just one difference between the nature of children and the way bureaucrats think.

      Like

  47. The towns could do this, but sherman stands alone. Why would the others vote yes. Pattern town manager wont even talk about it. Way above her head. The other towns taxes would go up and up. Because this guy will never back off. They all new he was a big spender, thats why they all voted yes. Even some of the so called board members of sacs, realize this.

    Like

    • I’m not sure I understand what you mean? I will check with the withdrawal committee, but I think there is ample support in other communities surrounding the former MSAD 25… What “other town’s taxes would go up” if Sherman, or all of Katahdin’s communities withdraw? If you are referring to Island Falls et. al., whose costs DID, I am told, go down with consolidation, then, they don’t have a voice anyway. The decision to stay, go, or even re-negotiate sharing on more fair terms after withdrawal — is your own.

      I have been troubled by the behavior of Patten town officials who, evidently, refused to permit a notice of a withdrawal committee informational, exploratory meeting to appear on the Town bulletin Board. The decision whether or not to withdraw is, indeed, “town business” and people need all options presented to them — NOT just the ones the town manager supports. Such a thing is a ghastly overreach.

      Please stay in touch, because one of our readers with expertise in this area is compiling figures to show how much consolidation has cost, and in what line items.

      Like

  48. That is sad, very sad

    Like

    • ….even worse than we predicted. In 2005, we predicted RSU governance would lead to constant fighting between schools and Board members representing different schools, different children and different taxpayers — all with often diametrically opposed interests, over one, now-shared pot of money.

      Here? Too many Board members on the Katahdin side just went along with however the Superintendent wanted to spend their constituents’ money — on a school to which their children have no access and get no benefit. I am confounded by their determination to go along with Mr. Malone’s obvious, and utterly unsophisticated scheme to fiscally starve Katahdin to force its closure. Though I suspect they have misplaced their trust, I have been heartened, recently, by a bit of healthy skepticism on the Board, and hope members consult experts outside of this administration.

      Like

  49. This is all screwed up, you will never get the votes. the other towns are laughing at shermans high taxes. they will never break away.
    they do not want their taxes going up. but they all want YOUR money.

    Like

    • You certainly have piqued quite a bit of interest, L.M.!

      Keep scrolling…..

      I think our readers would love to hear your thoughts on the situation; your own perspective, and what should be done.

      It doesn’t matter what your name is. Welcome!

      Like

  50. “…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”

    You have certainly articulated the problem very well. So why would Sherman not get the votes? Would everyone seriously rather send their tax money to other communities while their children’s school is fiscally strangled? Do you expect Sherman residents to take crippling tax bills, with stolen returns lying down?

    Withdrawal is a vital yet long-term remedy, but it is NOT the only one. People can stand up for themselves in a variety of ways, via their own Board and State representatives. They can even demand separate school committees to protect their interests.

    I can tell you that, even though Mr. Knowles has apparently drunk the Kool Aid, and allowed Sherman’s tax dollars to head North, Sherman taxpayers will find a sympathetic ear in Augusta. This sort of thing is hurting kids and taxpayers all over the State, and they are listening.

    Like

  51. concernedparentalso

    Hey LM,,,,,,,,,, you do not sound like your from sherman. You sound concerned about the feed back on here. Question,,,,, is it working.

    Like

    • Though I do hope the administration reads this, it doesn’t matter to me who L.M. is, or is not.

      Those unsavory sentiments are out there, we have known that for some time, so they belong here as well so we; you can deal with them.

      Like

  52. YA, i no what you mean!!!!!!!!!!! this sounds a little pissy.

    Like

  53. yes, that didnt sound right.

    Like

    • Well, I am very pleased to have readers from all over the district, and everyone is welcome. Vigorous debate is a healthy thing.

      I don’t pay taxes in Sherman, but find the notion that anyone, from any community could find Sherman’s predicament at all funny — appalling. BUT I would much rather those views were aired here, to spark debate that deepens understanding….

      That is why L.M., and our readers from all communities, are welcome.

      Like

  54. You don’t suppose its, no never mine.

    Like

  55. What, what, say it, we are all thinking it. Dont hold back. LOL.
    I no what you mean!

    Like

  56. Ill say it. malone

    Like

  57. concernedparentalso

    Give that person a CIGAR

    Like

  58. No way, he couldn’t be that stupid. Well now that i think about it. LOL

    Like

  59. Well this has been interesting. Just don’t let it mess up every-body. It might be, or NOT. I really think not.

    Like

  60. Who cares if it is Malone! Freedom of speech, tell that to our kids. oops not funny, since they are shut down or made to feel bad for what they say. Get that LM

    Like

    • All are welcome here. Though my position on School Consolidation, Common Core; what all that reform-y crap is doing to the teaching profession, not to mention our budgets… …what respecting the pupil really looks like…. None of this is exactly a secret, now is it? Still, I welcome opposing views on this site. L.M. is not the first commenter to challenge me, and I hope he will not be the last.

      Kids need a safe place to express themselves, and WE need to listen and learn from them. Ideally, they would be able to go to school officials. They have a place here to do that. We have had one anonymous student author, and one published in the Pioneer; a number of surveys, where people offered well-thought-out responses.

      If you or anyone would care to join us as an author, anonymously or otherwise, please message the Timbered Classrooms FB page privately.

      I would welcome Mr. Malone on the author roll, too.

      Like

  61. Malone on the author roll, that’s like a fart in church. WOW

    Like

  62. YES, ha ha ha, good one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

    • I DID say it tongue-in-cheek, but only because I don’t believe he would use this platform.

      Wouldn’t you like the chance to refute him in the comments section?

      It’s good to debate people with whom we disagree — even when it is about, apparently, everything.

      Like

  63. concernedparentalso

    no way,,, come on,,,,,,,really,,,,,that just not right. LOL

    Like

    • Well, I did ask the Visions Committee Task force (the committee that is considering a number of consolidation scenarios https://atimberedchoir.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/poll/ ) …for a more open ended public forum.

      Given the potential for serious harm, the situation cries out for vigorous, and public debate.

      Anyway, I didn’t get an answer to my request, that was backed by people in the community with more expertise than in the Superintendent’s own office…. ….It won’t happen here, surely.

      But, if hell indeed froze over? …and the Superintendent would write a post to all 68+ of our readers? You would reply in the comments section wouldn’t you? I hope so!

      Like

  64. COOL, really COOL. I like it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

    • Oh, good — someone likes the idea!

      The Superintendent really should make his case to shutter the school, and not simply liquidate it without a challenge from the community. Ideally, it would be a real public, town-hall-style forum. Here, too, though, would be welcome.

      Like

  65. OH WOW, NOW THAT’S WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT. GOOD ONE

    Like

  66. Well there you go, i really hope its him.

    Like

  67. OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    Like

  68. Got to admit, you made me smile.

    Like

  69. I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry; that the idea of open, multi-directional communication between school administration and the community is as funny as it is outlandish.

    Well, the offer stands! I think it would be interesting….

    Like

  70. One good thing, we need a good smile once and a while.

    Like

  71. ya, it is good

    Like

  72. Kinda nice for a chnge.

    Like

  73. “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.”
    – Oscar Wilde

    It’s important to keep a sense of humor….

    Like

  74. Ladies and gents, even when there is a so call breech in the discussions on this site, its a good thing, not bad. No matter the thought or what is being said. I see it as a reach out to see where our heads are. Every thing on here is well stated and on peoples mines. If it is Mr. Malone i only have one thing to say. Listen, reed, hear what your reading. This is not a witch hunt, its real people, with real kids, and real concerns. I hope more of the board comes to this site to see that this is all good, not bad. We as parents and tax payers have the right to discuss the future of our kids, grand-kids and our neighbors kids. Besides isn’t it about our CHILDREN.

    Like

    • The Board and Administration — Visions Committee have discussed Timbered Classrooms, but no one will admit to reading it.

      They should read it, and, just as importantly, check the bizarre notion that dissent is inherently “bad” at the door.

      “This is all screwed up, you will never get the votes. the other towns are laughing at shermans high taxes. they will never break away.
      they do not want their taxes going up. but they all want YOUR money.” ~L.M.

      That doesn’t sound like someone committed to fairness for children and taxpayers across the district. Whether this comment came from Larry, or not, we know that people in power hold this attitude. We need to confront it, and they need to confront all of us and our demands for fairness for our children.

      I will continue to press for it both here and more publicly.

      Like

  75. You are on the money, that is a good way to look at it Mr. Tapley

    Like

  76. concernedparentalso

    Home Run, Jerry

    Like

  77. A thought for the morning, that is why we are here Mr.Tapley

    Like

  78. Ya, that’s right Jerry

    Like

  79. Yes Jerry, that is the only reason.

    Like

  80. Pure gold, isn’t it?

    Mr. Tapley belongs on the author roll.

    Like

  81. Absolutely, dissent promotes discussion. It takes courage for administration to look and listen to what people are saying it. Then, they have to want to fix the problem, that will be the kicker. Schools and education get smaller, administrative positions get bigger. I hope they read this site, and not be offended by it, but just know, we are the parents and taxpayers, and we want some say in the way the money is spent and our children are educated.

    Like

  82. Some no. 2 pencils, paper, books, guidance, support, opportunity. would be a great start.

    Like

    • Relationships with faculty, too; the teacher/student relationship is where education happens, and kids need stability, and attention in that area. (i.e. stop firing teachers and let them work their magic)

      Like

  83. Yes that would.

    Like

  84. concernedparentalso

    How about home work, studying, writing, reading, and math that will follow them to the future.

    Like

    • That’s the thing about small schools – principals teach, there is no layer of management and administration…. Money is focused like a laser on what matters most to student outcomes — faculty, and all the resources they leverage to the students’ benefit.

      Like

  85. How about shop, home economics.

    Like

    • Yes!

      We have to understand where the diversion of funds away from shop and home ec is coming from, and how damaging our expectations for costs to decline with enrollment actually are. Only then can we fight to get that money back into the classroom.

      Of course, first and foremost, it is the ballooning administrative layers that grow like knotweed, even as people demand that they stop.

      There is a great deal of money to be made for testing companies, forcing us to pay for those absurd standardized tests. Textbook behemoths like Pearson know that they can charge a premium for mediocre textbooks with “Common Core” on the cover…. Much of school reform is designed to turn your child’s school into a revenue stream for Wall Street, to replace the one provided by the sub-prime mortgage debaucle.

      Small enrollment declines do not reduce costs, but even the loss of one child enrolled in a school wipes out thousands of dollars for a school. There really is something fundamentally inequitable about funding schools based on numbers rather than on need, and also overburdening property taxpayers who have widely disparate resources.

      Like

  86. I would love to hear the teachers say,,,,,,,,,MY STUDENTS.

    Like

  87. Wow, yes, Jesus yes. Yes, Yes, Jerry

    Like

  88. That rate there is, OLD SCHOOL Jerry

    Like

  89. Thats right lisa.

    Like

  90. Yes, that is right, a great big thanks lisa.

    Like

  91. I thank all of you,for putting our children first. Its a great feeling that i am not alone in this fight for our children s rights. Thank you all.

    Like

  92. concernedparentalso

    Things are getting out of control. A recent visit to washington D.C. by your food director has left our children eating slop.The same foods that the other schools refuse to serve. It has been all over fox news.
    Kids were not eating and the trash was getting over filled. But our food director has saved the day. Our children got the SLOP and malone got a RAISE. This makes me all warm and fuzzy.

    Like

    • I read that article, too in the Houlton Pioneer. It wasn’t clear, exactly, what the members of the Maine School Nutrition Management Association wanted from their junket? It only said they went to Washington to lobby, but not for what? Do they want even healthier standards, and to offer ideas? …or to go back to the old way of doing things?

      My husband recently took over the lunch program at Region III, and we are all very proud of what he has done with it. Students and staff alike are very pleased. He has also taught classes to school food service professionals that help them with the new standards, because there is a great deal more to it than simply substituting whole grains into existing recipes. He said that the USDA worded closely with food service professionals to help shape the standards in the beginning, so why this now?

      I wish we had known! While Herman has been helping others, our own food service director was struggling, right under our noses! Herman would be delighted to help her in any way that he can; visit his school….

      Budgets are such a challenge for food service directors; reimbursements are low, as they were never intended to cover the entire costs. Boards, nonetheless, demand that they do. I guess so they can pay disproportionate administrative salaries, and consultants’ fees when they fail, eh?

      Always money to wine and dine Senators; always money to pay people who never see a child….

      Faculty? Programs that matter to kids? Slash, slash, slash…..

      Like

  93. Yes, my 2 kids has said the same thing. The last week the food has change for the worse. I wonder how much of a discount they got. But we will never no the savings.

    Like

  94. Good morning, well i guess i have to start the day off, by telling my daughter im sorry. She to has been telling me about the food. I thought she was just being a drama queen. Doesn’t the board members have kids. Now the food.

    Like

    • It is a hard job — my husband does it. Reimbursement rates per meal are not realistic; were never intended to cover all the costs, but that is what is expected. Scroll up to what I wrote to concernedparentalso .

      Like

  95. Really, Really, you did not think this is going to get better. As far as malones raise, that was not him. Thats the bobble heads school board. As far as the food, look in the trash over there, same thing.
    But you parents, pay them lunch bills. Because the janitors needs a raise also. [ trash is getting heavy ] This is getting sicking.

    Like

    • You make a good point — ultimately, the “buck stops” with the Board.

      Do you believe Board members should be accountable to the communities that seated them? ….and not simply at election time?

      They don’t seem to think so, but responsiveness to the community is key to a child-centered decisions.

      Like

  96. Well it was a good morning, Now im waiting for mine to wake up. So i can ask him. Class rooms out of control, math classes 2 years behind, drugs, lack of respect for teachers, gloom and doom, bullying, now food. Why are they there?

    Like

    • When parents don’t send children to school ready-to-learn, the need for even lower teacher-student ratios; support staff grows dramatically. …but that is where the cuts land first!

      There was an article in the Washington Post recently about the documented effects of these unmet needs on children who DO come to school ready to learn. It affects everyone, really.

      Like

  97. Sitting here having coffee, reading all the comments. I do not no if this is healthy. What are children are going through, is terrible. It is not going to get better in the near future. Maybe it is going to be worth looking at a new town, or home schooling. I hear allot of comments saying, its about the kids. Sending them to this school is good for them. Tell me some more, i think more of my kid, than this crap.

    Like

    • I’m so glad you articulated this. So many of us have, indeed, looked at other towns and homeschooling, and I am no exception. ( As residents of the Unorganized Territory, we, technically, have “school choice” save for transportation. We have considered Lincoln, Lee, Houlton…. I have even asked our Superintendent to consider changing where our bus goes.)

      Our private, and deeply personal efforts on behalf of our own children, come first and I respect the various decisions families have made. The school system is so inextricably intertwined with the community and local economy, that we remain affected by Board decisions whether we have children in the school or not. Therein lies our civic responsibility.

      Free and open discussion can be very uncomfortable at times; like stepping into the sunshine from a dark cave…. In my own humble opinion, though, like sunlight, it is healthy — very healthy. Not simply in spite of the unpleasantness, but often because of it.

      Our site was not only designed to offer research and expertise, but also to expand participation in the sort of discussions happening in the community; to connect. I hope it does not stop here!

      Thank you so much for your interest, and whether you continue here, with us, or elsewhere, I hope you will lend a hand…

      Peace,
      Lisa

      Like

  98. We lost one last week end, 4 more are getting ready. I have a bad feeling these numbers are going to fly. What is left of this country, we still have freedom of speech and the right to make these kind of decisions. Good luck in your decision, im sure you will do best for your child.

    Like

  99. Yes, good luck on that, we all have to do the same. Just talked to my boy. Its true, them sons of——. You mean to tell me, we all have to put up with this. This a deliberate act, from this administration. Cant you people see these meetings are not working.

    Like

  100. Sorry to see you go. This place was just getting started. But i do understand, i do.

    Like

    • I think we all do; we’ve all struggled with decisions to move.

      Though our house has been on the market, I believe we have to do both — do what is best for our own families, but use the civic power we have to create an education system of which we can be proud. It is the responsibility of all of us, after all.

      Like

  101. Why did the site change over? Where are you guys going? i guess im not catching it. ok bye

    Like

  102. Where are all the savings gone? I think they are telling us anough on
    this one. ok bye

    Like

  103. concernedparentalso

    IS THAT RIGHT

    Like

  104. Well that bites. bye

    Like

  105. Lets organize our own meeting and invite administration. We run it, we get to say exactly what needs to be said, and they actually might have to listen. Hmm wonder if they would have the courage to show up, show they care, and actually listen.
    The kids speak out loud and clear, but the principal wants to bury her head in the sand. The freshman have been screwed over big time in their education this year, especially in science. They don’t like it. I just got, instead of a one page report card, I received my child’s report card in a large manilla envelope, Probably about 25 pages. I am not joking, I wish I were. I was so upset, I couldn’t even get past the first page for the first day. My student, has expressed displeasure at these standards based grades, and lately what I hear is I don’t even care. She has learned very little in science, and if this teacher is here next year, we will find an online science class. I wish administration actually heard and cared, but I see no evidence of that yet.
    My daughter is frustrated, and so are we, what kind of work ethic is this teaching the kids. Ok sorry to rant, but I just can’t believe this is the same school it was before Malone came and we got a new Principal. Wake up Malone, Kids are unhappy, so are parents, what do you care about, it certainly is not students and their education.

    Like

    • It’s a wonderful idea!

      You have to remember, that they won’t “care” unless and until you leave them no other option.

      By the way, I am so glad you said that! …about a public meeting? I asked for one, but got no response at all. Though I was asking on behalf of a fair number of other people, I really am the wrong one to be making a request like that — or any, for that matter. My name is “Mud” in the Superintendent’s office, I’m afraid. Actually, not “afraid”, but you’ll get further with a moderator everyone respects, and that no one could deny. You know more people than I do, certainly, so I wish you well. I am willing to help however I can be useful.

      Like

  106. I think you organize a meeting, invite administration. Invite the media as well. What do you think?

    Like

    • That is exactly how it’s done! Press is paramount. Don’t forget a moderator, though.

      I’ll use our site, FB page, make flyers and inform the local press to publicize it once the date is settled.

      Anything else you need? Just name it…

      Like

  107. You should read these comments.

    Like

  108. little bridge

    comments, from real people

    Like

  109. Mr. Tapley are you still here?

    Like

  110. the good old days when people cared, now this is retired.
    i have a feeling, that people regret what they have done.
    one sign, this rate here is dead now.

    Like

    • Regret what? Joining the RSU? Voting on the budget?

      People care very much about their children, tax dollars and communities – I dare say as much as ever.

      If I had a nickel for everyone who has wished us well…. ….but for various reasons want to remain silent themselves.

      This is quite an old post, so few people will see your comment. …but, please, feel free to comment under a more recent post to reach more of our readers. That is where the traffic is.

      Thank you for weighing in.

      Like

  111. the vote, this might be a old post, but it is better than now. the care for kids yes, everything else, no. they no just to go with the flow. that is why this old post is the best.

    Like

    • As budget time approaches, people see where their power is, and come out; be vocal, and see hope in the power of the purse… It becomes harder for them to know how to hold their Board to account in its absence but it is there if they want it. ……less in an RSU of course than in a stand alone district but that partnership is their choice as well.

      Even a dead fish can “go with the flow” but dead fish don’t have civic responsibilities. Though it may seem easier, and people tell themselves it will be OK…. it is anything but as children endure long bus rides for less opportunity and rising tax bills swell mailboxes.

      Like

  112. Your right dr, i no exactly what you mean. You can tell how it has died here on the new posts. this was and i mean was a good old post.

    Like

    • Though readership is up now, there were certainly more comments here. What people say here matters, certainly, but more so what they say to their Board; what they do about their grievences. Don’t like the RSU model? ….the power it gives those who want to liquidate your infrastructure, balloon you tax bills and bus your kids? Then get out of it. Many districts avoided it altogether while most others are leaving what is a proven failed model.

      The decision is yours.

      Like

  113. yep, your right, the good old days was here. the board, def, ears, until larry commands them to listen, or knowels and ryan threatenings them.

    Like

    • I’ve spoken with friends in other communities and they cannot believe a Board would show the sort of disdain for public opinion as ours has; that any Board would conduct business without vigorous debate. In these other communities, for instance, letters from the public to Board members were enough to make them stand firm against their own Superintendent. There is press coverage there, that is more present and less fawning than here. Timbered Classrooms is no substitute for real, professional journalism, but we have value. We are read more regularly now than when we drew more comment traffic. Though people may well decide to resign themselves to the direction the Board has chosen they won’t be fooled. They will know, at least, that it is their choice and not the only one.

      Like

We want to know what YOU think! Post a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s