I was puzzled by Jim Fossel’s July 16 Maine Sunday Telegram column (“For better Maine schools, it’s not all about the money”).

He notes that teacher pay is low in Maine compared to the pay in other states, and suggests addressing that problem and also considering merit pay for teachers, both of which would increase costs.

He then goes on to propose allowing more charter schools to improve choice for students, which would function to decrease funding available for the public school system.

I was my understanding that the number of charter schools was limited to 10 in the first 10 years to allow for assessment of their ability to improve student performance – surely this is a reasonable idea.

In fact, assessment of charter schools in general has not been robust, and many of them have not been able to demonstrate substantially better progress by their students when compared to students in the public schools.

Certainly improvements could be made in the current school system, and the administrative costs are high, but the whole thrust of the column seems to be devoted to not raising taxes.

Pursuit of this goal has resulted not in a booming economy, but rather in more children living in poverty and a raging opioid abuse epidemic. Perhaps it is time to reconsider our priorities.

Nancy D. Barber