In response to Acting Education Commissioner Jim Rier’s comment that the state would be paying twice for the same services if it didn’t use Title I funds to reduce a district’s state subsidy: He needs a refresher course.

School districts may be able to use Title I money in a variety of ways. Based on its use in the district in which I work (Lisbon), Mr. Rier’s statement is totally inaccurate. At our elementary school, we have five full-time teachers and two education technicians working in Title I providing support in math and reading.

This support is mostly for kids who don’t qualify for special education but need extra help that the classroom teacher does not have time to provide. There are no duplicated services. Taking an average of $40,000 for salary and benefits for each Title I staff person (which is probably low), the amount of the state subsidy deduction is in the realm of $280,000.

What could our school district do with this additional money each year? Hire more teachers at the high school in order to give students more electives (which were lost over the past four to five years due to budget cuts); build up-to-date science/computer lab rooms at the high school, or rebuild the industrial arts room with upgraded machinery for use by both high school and middle school students.

There would be no duplication, only the addition of offerings that would help students gain skills and increase their engagement in school.

Mr. Rier seems blinded, as the governor is, by his ideology and his ignorance. He might actually visit some of the schools for which he is commissioner. I see a need for some remedial education.

Brian Hirst

Harpswell