October 28, 2013

Maine Voices: Sound educational reasoning says keep RSU 23 together

With the majority of Saco’s school budgets and programs mandated by state and federal regulations, real local control is micro-control.

By Tracey Collins and Eric Drown, Saco parents and members of CARE 23

(Continued from page 1)

about the authors

Tracey Collins and Eric Drown are parents of children in Saco public schools and members of CARE 23, a citizens’ initiative dedicated to understanding and conveying the financial and educational impact of withdrawal from RSU 23.

After reporting on the Saco withdrawal effort for the past 18 months, we believe there are sound educational reasons for the regional school unit to stay together. If Saco is going to remain in the RSU, the cost-sharing formula needs to change. Yet this idea was never explored. City councilors and withdrawal supporters believe it better to dismantle a school district just beginning to show the fruits of consolidation, than to negotiate with their neighbors to solve problems.

The irony in all of this is that in its zeal to take back local control, elected leaders allowed city officials to obligate 30 percent of Saco’s education budget to Thornton Academy. We will have no say or oversight in how that budget is spent.

With the majority of Saco’s school budgets and programs mandated by federal and state regulations, real local control is micro-control that will have us slicing at the vulnerable components of the only part of the budget the school board and city can control: our K-8 education system. As parents of young children in this community, we see local control as daunting.

— Special to the Press Herald

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