…a collaborative compilation of community concerns surrounding Board plans to close Katahdin, by people who know the outcome was never in doubt….
Some concerns voiced at the public forum Monday, November 9th; concerns raised as a result of Mike Hammer’s letter following the Nov 9 meeting:
-Loss of school in community, kids feel that the people in their community should be protecting their education in their own communities, it is the responsibility of taxpayers to provide an education for the kids of their communities in their own communities – This concern and responsibility is now on the voters! There seemed to be no intent from the board or Mr. Hammer to take these concerns into consideration.
-People are confused about the voting process. This was not addressed and clarified by the board.
-The effect on businesses when the school is removed from the community, concern that people will not move to the area. We realize that people “are already passing by these communities” for other reasons, but there are many families HERE NOW that choose to live here in a small school/community setting.
-It was requested that further consideration be given to the scenario of moving K-12 at Katahdin into the high school building. There has never been an estimate of the cost of renovations, savings of closing KES presented. People feel this should be completed before expecting voters to make a decision. We have been told in the past that to close KES would save $250,000 per year just in insurance and heat. During the board meeting that followed, “further consideration was not given” to this scenario. How can this be dismissed without studying the costs? Shouldn’t voters get the opportunity to vote on viable scenarios such as K-12 into the KHS building?
-Concerns about the breakdown of family life as a result of the distance in traveling to and from sports, extra-curricular, school events, and the fewer opportunities students will have to participate. Also the added cost of travel for families. The continued concern of busing students such a great distance and the cost.
-Mr. Hammer continues to “promise” better educational opportunities as his number one priority. This is a promise we heard when we became an RSU and students have not received. The better educational opportunities and advantages for ALL students could become disadvantages to Katahdin students traveling. To “compete globally” is a goal of Mr. Hammer’s. We are continuing to put aside what our kids here and now need. Naturally, SACS parents support receiving better educational opportunities. There are no negative changes to their education.
-There will be no reduction in taxes, as many people are looking for as a result of consolidating. This savings is misleading.
-Mr. Hammer reported that “13 people spoke about keeping things the same.” That is not what people at the public forum spoke about. These people spoke about not supporting consolidating 9-12 at SACS and the reasons why. No one even mentioned “keeping things the same.” People all agree that change is needed. Not sure what he is stating. It seems that the public comments were misunderstood. How?
-These and many more concerns and questions were posed to the board and Mr. Hammer on Monday night. There was no acknowledgment or discussions as people spoke directly to the board and Mr. Hammer. It did not feel like a public forum, only a “time period to hear from citizens.”
As a result of Monday night’s board meeting, the only scenarios on the table are consolidating 9-12 at SACS and no change. Mr. Hammer has said that no change is not an option, so………………….. We can no longer look to our school board or superintendent to make the best educational decisions for our children, their decision has been made by the majority. We have to appeal to citizens and voters to act on saving our communities and our school.