“..It is the 21st century. Closing schools and putting kids on busses for long rides to bigger schools so they can have more curriculum is a 20th century solution….” “…We have many more options of getting curriculum; content to kids besides just putting them on busses….” ~Marty Strange, Vermonters for Schools and Community
The RSU #50 Board has long refused to leverage those options for kids because doing so would undermine their desire to shift resources from the Katahdin campus to communities on the Northern side of the district for their own purposes – none of which they can begin to prove benefit children or taxpayers.
That small schools; schools in our current configuration, cannot afford a quality education for children is a stubbornly held view of the RSU #50 Board that threatens to become a self-fulfilling prophecy if parents and communities do not engage. As Board members seek to prove the inferiority of small schools, and punish Katahdin’s communities for their own failure – our children are shortchanged irreparably…..
Many towns have escaped the harsh consequences of the RSU Law by withdrawing from their RSUs, pre-emptively seeking (and winning) exemptions and opting for AOS models of consolidation. Too many, in fact, to garner State attention to the plight of RSU #50, where the LSRS law ran roughshod over the interests of children and communities. Here, the law worked as intended, though even a State official who supports consolidation admits, “Geographically large districts are ‘problematic'”.
The following video from Vermont speaks to the advantages of small schools, and strategies to make the most of them, particularly in the testimony of Mr. Chris Tormey, High School Science teacher in a large school and parent/board member in a small one.