I’ve recently heard suggestions that the proposed school construction projects in RSU 21 should be deferred until such time when state subsidies could help fund them.

The reality is, every time the state accepts new construction applications, they start from scratch, reviewing each project with equal bias. Some districts have actually lost ground in subsequent application rounds because other districts were able to demonstrate greater need.

In the previous round of applications, Mt. Ararat (Topsham) missed being funded by fractions of a point. They came in second. However, in the following round, Mt. Ararat was ranked seventh because other schools were deemed by the state to have more comparative need.

In an email to RSU 21 Superintendent Andrew Dolloff, dated Dec. 6, 2013, Maine Department of Education representative Scott Brown acknowledged that state funding is not likely for capital projects in our district:

“To date the Department has only committed to funding 6 projects from the 2010 list. There has not been a timeline set for a future cycle at this time and a new cycle would include new schools that may not have applied before which you would be competing with.”

It is completely inaccurate to think that as other state-funded projects are completed, the ones further down the list move up in an orderly fashion. Funding for Kennebunk High School renovations is not coming from Augusta any time soon.

The longer our community waits, the longer we put our children and district employees at risk, and the higher we’ll watch the inevitable construction costs continue to climb.

It’s time to act now. Vote “yes” on Jan. 21.

Norm Archer

Class of 1989, Kennebunk High School

Kennebunkport