Well, well, well, the chickens have come home to roost. Now that the dust has started settling from the RSU 5 withdrawal vote, it seems that more folks are questioning the wisdom of this ill-conceived move.

Not only will the bond approval for the renovation of the high school be invalidated, but, assuming the referendum is approved by the required margin in the next election (July or, most likely, November) the renovation will have to be re-funded. Of course, all of this takes time and more than a few positive assumptions. Meanwhile, the high school remains in the same condition and the students are no better off.

Which brings up another question: If the proponents of Moving Freeport Forward were primarily concerned with education and the “deplorable“ conditions at the high school, why continue with the departure from RSU 5 after the high school renovation bond issue had passed? Were they so irate that more athletic facilities weren’t included in the bond that they decided to take their “football” and go home anyway ?

At the same time, the residents of Pownal and Durham must now decide where to send their high school age children. Freeport is a choice, but perhaps now not the best one. The renovation has been put on hold with no guarantee that it will occur in the near future. There are certainly better existing high schools within approximately the same commuting distance and tuition cost range. Why would they bother sending their children to Freeport? Assuming they wouldn’t, Freeport high school enrollment would drop along with a corresponding drop in state aid to education. Costs certainly won’t go down, so property taxes would unavoidably go up to compensate for the loss of funding.

And let’s not forget the possible re-funding of the school renovation should enough voters turn out to validate leaving the RSU. Assuming the renovation cost stays the same as the one approved by the voters in November, we now have a $14-million-plus tab to be picked up by the residents of Freeport rather than all the residents of RSU 5.

We can see a point in the near future where, after 30 years in Freeport, we will no longer be able to afford to live here. It’s a shame, too, because there are a lot of fine people and very positive things about Freeport. Unfortunately, a vocal and misguided minority is not one of either and their knee-jerk reaction has put the reputation of the town and its education system in question.

Arthur and Charlotte Mary

Freeport


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