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“If #8 does not pass wait until they get the new budget……!” – Supt. Mike Hammer at the Board Meeting following the Public Forum

After Monday’s Public Forum, the Board voted to eliminate all scenarios EXCEPT:

#8 – “Move 7th and 8th Grade to KES and move 9-12 KHS to the NEW MOUNTAIN BROOK complex – close KMHS.

AND

#11 – No Change – Schooling continues as is.

The Board has the votes necessary to pass #8 in December.

The Superintendent’s remarks:

“Good Day,

This update is a little difficult as people may misinterpret my comments about “staying the same”.

A brief update on last night’s meeting: the board whittled down its options for consolidation at last night’s meeting. One option that remains as a choice for consolidation is to move the 7th and 8th grades from KMHS to KES and have 9-12 grade students move up to the Dyer Brook complex (building and grounds qualifying as “a complex”). The second option is “no change”.

The idea to have two K-12 building gained a lot of support and discussion last night. It does not offer the amount of savings as are in the other plans. It would offer significant financial investment in renovations to either facility. This option has some benefits; however, it does not bring the educational benefits to a combined 9-12 grade facility/complex. It was not voted as an option to for further consideration.

Personally, and again in my opinion as the current superintendent, we cannot have “no change”. The public did speak last night from 5:30 to 6:20 or so. They were heard by the board. Thirteen people spoke in favor of “keeping things as they are”. I asked the board for clarification of what this means to them and I believe we have many opinions about what that might be. For me, I will not embrace keeping things the same. There are opportunities that we can build on and enrich for our students. Our teachers do a wonderful job and as Principal Jon Porter pointed out to me in an email we have made some gains in our “report cards”. That’s another story.

From my recent visits with town managers, selectmen, community members, teachers, and board members, I conclude that many do not truly embrace “no change”. The one thing we count on is change. The board has put these two options as an agenda item for decision at the December 14th board meeting. If the vote is for no further consolidation, I will passionately advocate for the board to make additions to the budget that will enrich, support, and extend the educational opportunities for students in their “own” school.

Some wonder what the specific offerings would be if the high schools were together, increases in electives, (creative writing, drama, forensics, anatomy, physics, chemistry labs on both white and colored days, two sections of English, updated lab equipment) the list goes on. We need to compete globally; we’d like pathways that prepare students for career and higher education. Many of these items are already being developed, in isolation, for small groups of students. Some of these opportunities would be easier if our students were in the same complex, some won’t take a lot of financial resources, that being said, they will require the voters to support the education of their students. This is a truly complex challenge, I understand we don’t want to have “winners” and “losers”, I don’t want to take the identity from a community. The truth is, people are passing by these communities due to a variety of causes or they are on a fixed income, they also love it here and want to raise their children here. There are not currently multiple industries moving into the communities. The financial support we enjoyed in the 80″s and 90’s and early 2000’s is no longer reality. We have declining enrollment and high teacher attrition. I want to focus on the positives, increasing opportunities for students and moving the district toward a common vision. I will work at this regardless of what the vote is in December.

Lastly, I want to thank the 4th graders who invited me to their ceremony and the veterans for their service to our communities. Please take time to remember them tomorrow as we celebrate Veteran’s day.”

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5 responses to “

  1. My question is. How much will this cost to move the students? I keep hearing it will save us money to close the school but how much will it cost to get theese school ready for the changes you what to make? What I’m hearing is you don’t know so how can you tell me it’s going to save where’s the figures to get the schools ready? Like always your not Listening to the taxpayers

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  2. My thoughts are that the cost of renovating (when the goods are already in the KES building, they just need to be moved) wouldn’t be as much as the board is projecting. The cost of a whole new ”make over” so to speak is going to be just as much or at least close to it!! I think it’s time to STOP pushing the MOST SAVINGS (when ideally, it’s not EXACTLY going to be the number of savings that is on paper) and start thinking creatively what will be the BEST CHOICE.

    In my world, you don’t spend it, if you don’t have it. But yet, someone still seems to be spending the money anyway on other less necessary items and positions.

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    • They certainly have been spending on unnecessary items and the scenario they are pushing does NOT yield the “most savings” at all.
      Well… Maybe not for people of Katahdins communities. For three years or longer, officials representing northern towns have wanted ALL the money in the district either for SACS or a new school without regard to the costs to you.
      They have not been forthcoming with cost estimates either for moving KES to KMHS but it is most certainly less than the renovations planned for SACS with your money. https://atimberedchoir.wordpress.com/2015/11/03/an-ounce-of-prevention/

      Island Falls representative Steve Walker likened children to “fertilizer sprinkled over too Many buildings”. They want your children and money to “feed” their building instead of buildings serving children.

      Back to the overspending on unnecessary things: they need children to experience austerity so that their parents will accept their consolidation scheme so kids are not getting value for taxpayer dollars. …and it will get worse. The Supt.said that if consolidation does not pass, “wait until they see the next budget!”

      Calls for financial data have been ignored.

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  3. My question is just what is the “New Meadow Brook Complex”? I that what the Board has now named Southern Aroostook, and if so is it Legally named that and if not can they close our Katahdin and move our students to a place that legally does not exist? Just asking because the option the Board voted on Monday evening says they will send our students to the New Meadow Brook Complex and not Southern Aroostook.

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    • A memo issued by the Supt. (view it here: https://atimberedchoir.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/new-school-new-name/

      listed New Meadow Brook ostensibly as a new name for SACS and the result of a “focus group study”.

      No one seemed to have any knowledge of a “focus group” and concerns arose that new buildings were planned to turn SACS into a “complex” .

      The Superintendent responded: “…know I used the term Mountain Brook Complex as an option for further consolidation – this is to notate that there will be changes for both sides of the district if further consolidation is considered by the school board. (there has been no new committee or focus group that has been tasked with rebranding anything; that will be for the students to do)”

      Consolidation proponents keep pushing the idea that if only SACS gets a new name, mascot and colors then that will somehow ameliorate the losses to Katahdin’s communities.

      Weird huh?

      Families and communities will continue to pay more for less while shouldering the costs of consolidation.

      I am so sorry I took so long to answer you. I hope this helps.

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