Thursday, May 23, 2013
By WILLIAM J. MICHAUD
Bill Nemitz's column in the Sept. 1 Maine Sunday Telegram made me see a Red Storm!
From October 2001 through August 2006, I was privileged to serve as superintendent of the Scarborough Public Schools. I am proud that during that period I refused to honor any superintendent agreements for students from other districts wishing to enroll in Scarborough. My reason was simple: basic fairness to taxpayers.
During my tenure as superintendent, Scarborough was one of the fastest growing school districts in Maine. Unlike most Maine systems that were experiencing declining student enrollments, Scarborough's increased each year. Overcrowded classrooms were a significant concern, particularly at the secondary level.
In 2001, Scarborough citizens, in an unprecedented show of support for their children, voted to spend almost $30 million to renovate and expand a severely out-of-date Scarborough High School. Not one dime of state money was provided for the project. Rather, the people of Scarborough sacrificed to ensure that the town's high school students would learn in an appropriate, modern facility.
I refused to extend educational benefits paid for by hardworking Scarborough taxpayers to dozens of non-residents who wanted a Scarborough education for their children. I was never overruled by any commissioner of education.
It is unfortunate that the current commissioner and the governor are so enthralled by the seductive "panacea" of school choice that they appear willing to burden unfairly those school districts like Scarborough that have found the way to pay for quality education.
William J. Michaud is a resident in Portland.