Timbered Classrooms is grateful to our readers who shared the following letter from the Superintendent’s office in which Mr. Hammer projects consolidation cost “savings”.
It would be silly to pretend that Katahdin and SACS are in equal jeopardy here, so I won’t….
“…These are strong estimates, they do not include any necessary upgrades in infrastructure….”
-RSU 50 Interim Superintendent Mike Hammer
Projections that ignore costs are anything but “strong” for those who nonetheless must PAY them and for whom those costs erase those “savings”.
His projections come from a State formula that ignores the cost of these “necessary renovations” but these so-called “savings” WILL, nonetheless, appear on the ballot when voters decide whether or not to close their school.
In the event Voters elect to keep, Katahdin open, the district will levy that sum IN ADDITION to Katahdin communities’ share as determined by the cost-sharing formula.
The district is under no obligation to spend that extra money on Katahdin or for the benefit of its children whatsoever; protection from a continuing campaign of fiscal asphyxiation is virtually nonexistent.
Community members will continue to pay more for less under the current leadership and do to the inherent disadvantages of the RSU model itself.
Here is Mr. Hammer’s letter in its entirety:
“To All Staff,
At last night’s board meeting I presented to the board specific cost savings for the closure of KES, SACS 7-12, and KMHS. Specifically, closing KES and moving the students to KMHS, this would net 110,000 dollars annually. Secondly, closing KMHS and moving the students North as previously discussed (577,000 annually). Lastly, closing part of SACS and moving 7-12 students South with yield an estimated 515,000 annually. These are strong estimates, they do not include any necessary upgrades in infrastructure. We used formulas and background data provided to us from the state that we would use in the event of a vote to close a school. There were no decisions made on any of the information that I provided last night. My purpose was to give factual information to the board, I feel that they are at a point were something must be decided.
In either case of closure of a 7-12 scenario we save upwards of 500,000 unfortunately the savings come on the backs of lost positions, some of those could be presently unfilled positions. There is more information to gather in terms of what makes for the best scenario to put 7-12 students together and the ultimate intent is to provide the highest quality education. We are also planning for the long term, in order to remain a viable district.
There is more information that we will be gathering. We will need to inform the communities through forums and in one scenario the local voters would have to decide if they want to bare the burden of increased taxes to keep KMHS open. I truly do not believe the combination of KES and KMHS is a viable option and would venture to say it was taken off the table.
We hope to keep communication lines open, there will be many difficult decisions that will need to be made as the process unfolds. Please remember that when the dust settles there will be a decision based on what is best for students balanced with what this area can sustain for the long term. Students must be kept in the loop as well and ultimately will get to make decisions on what their future could hold.