In a recent letter to the editor published in an area weekly paper, a Kennebunk resident claims to know the reasons for failure of the Jan. 21 Regional School Unit 21 renovation referendum. A prime reason stated was the need for two elementary school closures in order to reduce capital costs.

Certainly, each of us is entitled to our own opinions, but this issue was decided long, long ago. State law, coupled with voter-approved, local cost-sharing agreements, put that issue to bed. In fact, the very Kennebunk resident who submitted the letter sat on the committee that recommended the local agreement to voters. He did not oppose it.

What would Kennebunkport and Arundel voters be likely to say if polled or if forced to vote to close their own schools ”“ that is, to tear the very heart and soul out of their communities? I strongly suspect the voter reply would be, “Over my dead body!” Put in a similar situation, would Kennebunk residents take kindly to voting for closure of Kennebunk Elementary School? I think not.

The school board is elected by the voters from our three towns. They have worked hard over the last six to seven years at forging a strong educational bond between our communities, working to resolve many contentious issues while striving to create an outstanding school district. Working together, and after lengthy public discussion, these citizens have successfully blended together competing community values as well as the many educational, financial, building capacity and political forces. Reasonable, responsible compromise is the driving force. Retaining an elementary school in each community was, is and will be a fundamental political necessity to continued cohesion.

We have finally come together, educationally at least, as a single, unified, three-town community with a single, larger border. However, some still can’t envision this single border reality. Unfortunately, there’s still a good deal of a “them vs. us” attitude left in all three towns. Attempting to break that unity apart through ill-advised efforts to close two elementary schools over proposed renovation cost reductions makes no sense whatsoever.

If the intent is to destroy this outstanding school district, then it can be done. Simply place a few virtual dynamite sticks under the foundations of “an elementary school will be retained in each town” and depress the plunger. We all can hope that is not anyone’s true intent.

-Jack Reetz, former RSU 21 School Board member (2009-12), Arundel