Saco city councilors recently voted to rescind a prior action to place a school bond question on the November ballot.

The action was anticipated, since the state of Maine is opening up the school construction list. This means that if Saco is considered for funding, local taxpayers will not have to face going it alone on the $21.5 million-plus school construction program.

Congratulations to the council for its vote. This provides an opportunity for Superintendent Dom DePatsy, with support from the School Board, to oversee the creation of a master plan for the physical needs of the education system.

The plan should take into consideration not only the immediate academic programs, but also those that may be required in the future. A thorough analysis of existing space utilization, enrollments, maintenance, transportation, energy options, pupil-teacher ratios, capital requirements and other cost centers should be undertaken.

All relevant resources – both public and private – need to be identified and evaluated and their costs determined. The end product should reflect what is best for the children and the community as a whole.

Funding for the master plan can come from existing school planning balances, supplemented by the council if need be. The community needs to take a long view and take advantage of state assistance to meet the needs. It is important to get it right.

John Harkins

chairperson, Saco Citizens for Sensible Government