“….we’ve discussed a $600.00 hockey program for over an hour, but vote in a $65,000 curriculum coordinator in the blink of an eye, I don’t get it!….”
…said a Board member at the Budget meeting whose name our sources didn’t catch. Let’s just call him, “Voice of Reason”.
It is always an imperative to maximize opportunity for kids, according to their needs and aspirations. The chance to play for a mere $600; a rounding error for more controversial budget items and with such a tremendous impact on the young people involved, is too good to pass up. Even those who have raised concerns that Katahdin youth live too far away to benefit do not want to deprive SACS students – but do want parity, pure and simple.
Now, about that fence. Pretty isn’t it? It’s the sort over which I would ask the gardener’s advice when their roses bloom brighter and their “grass is greener” so to speak. Gardeners in my experience delight in being asked advice, and share the secrets of their success, and lessons of their failures, gladly.
As we look “over the fence” toward Hodgdon, the obvious question the Board should be asking is, “How does a high school that enrolls 150 kids or so field a hockey team at all?”
Hodgdon has been gracious enough to host Southern Aroostook players, surely they would be equally so in sharing their successes and struggles.
Every district, of every size, faces challenges. Communicating with, and learning from each other is what “working together” looks like in a real, efficient and fair sense.
“How do you maintain full-time access to your library?” “How are you able to fund a Gifted and Talented program?” “What do you consider your advantages in serving each and every child?” “What are your biggest challenges and how do you deal with them?”. “When you advertise for open faculty positions, do they go unanswered the way ours do?” “How do you maintain highly-qualified faculty?” “What are your top priorities in your budget?” “What needs go unmet?”
Our Board’s view of small schools generally, including our own is so awash in negativity as to miss our advantages even IF they wanted to find them. Doing so in our current configuration, however, undermines the efforts of powerful Board members to infuse education resources into their own community for their own purposes. ….a divisive disincentive to say the least. Their firm belief in consolidation/closure as the “only” option (close THEIR school and bring kid$ HERE of course and NOT the other way around); an option they failed even to bring up for a vote, means that they have failed children not only by parents’ measure – parents who are increasingly seeking other options – but by their own standard.
Providing children with a good education and value for taxpayers’ dollars is the most pressing one at the moment, and more important, even, than the consolidation controversy.
Let’s look “over the fence” to schools that are doing more for less, and craft a budget to emulate them.