The RSU 5 arrangement originally was and continues to be fundamentally flawed. Consolidation was a legislatively imposed administrative and financial structure determined by nothing more than proximity on the map, and false threats of penalty. It is indisputable that consolidation was state cost shifting, numbers shuffled on spreadsheets to appear as administrative savings. Our three towns have different economic bases and municipal structures. This is not a statement about class, status, righteousness, sophistication, or wealth. Each has a unique character, culture and priorities; let’s honor, embrace, and leverage these to everyone’s advantage.

Withdrawal is an opportunity for all three towns on two basic premises: 1. Educational decisions should be made locally; our business plans and educational strategies must be flexible to accommodate the ebb and flow of federal, state, and local socio-economics. 2. Had consolidation never come to fruition, our three towns would never have willfully and intentionally entered into a binding financial arrangement remotely like this one. This is our last chance to actualize educational visioning through truly collaborative and mutually beneficial partnerships.

Despite short-sighted rhetoric from the opposition, withdrawal is not about closing, but rather opening doors to differentiated cooperative agreements. The course of sensible operational decisions has unfortunately spun as something personal. This ridiculous comparison to a “marriage” somehow found its way into the everyday description of our operating structure. No other sector refers to finances this way. Why are we reducing our school system to a soap opera? This perspective has and will continue to obfuscate strategic planning or forward movement toward 21st-century best practice.

The withdrawal movement has been characterized as divisive and reactive; rather, it is an essentially proactive, strategic and restorative pathway to balancing educational efficiency with excellence for our communities.

We can do this together by reclaiming the transformative energy of locally supported education.

Kristen Dorsey


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