As a taxpayer and a parent of children in SAD 25, I would like to correct some of the misinformation that has been reported on the issue of consolidation.
First, Mel Gould, school board chairman, has stated several times that Mt. Chase, Stacyville and Sherman Mills would have to pay extra money if Patten kept its schools open. This is not true. The money will still come out of each town’s school appropriation, just as it does every year. The district will still be getting the same money from the towns, only how the money will be spent will be different. Superintendent Richard Marx has stated that even if all four schools closed, taxes would not go down. Gould made this statement even though he knew funding would remain the same.
The board pushed for a second vote after this same issue was defeated in 1994. Right up to the day of the vote, we taxpayers still did not know what the true cost of consolidation would have been. No studies have been done by contractors, and to this day, they still have no idea of what the schools would have looked like when they where done. In one set of floor plans shown, they even accidently forgot to have rooms for the sixth grade. By closing our schools we would have been giving them a blank check to do with as they pleased. At the Jan. 7 meeting, the school board ordered administrators to do education and financial impact studies before they close any schools. Shouldn’t this have been done before this issue was brought to vote? On what did the board base their decision to close the schools?
Gould stated the board has no legal authority to ignore election results, but then said he would resign before he would vote to put any money into our schools. By doing nothing to update our schools after the 1994 vote, and tehn doing nothing to update our schools after this vote, isn’t he in effect ignoring election results? We’ve paid taxes to keep these schools up for many years, but the board has not put any money into them. As taxpayers, we all have the right to know where the money has gone. Michael S. Fahey Sr. Patten