Maine hotels and restaurants pulled in a record $3.8 billion last year, and the Portland Public Schools superintendent is struggling to increase the school budget to $113 million. Such was the front-page news March 6.

The gridlocked traffic on Commercial Street, plus the soaring construction of hotels and upscale condominiums, inform those of us who live in Portland that our city is beneficiary to a boom unparalleled during my 38 years of residence here. Tourists enjoy Portland’s world-class hotels and restaurants while wealthy retirees gobble up condominiums as fast as they can be built. Why not! Art, music and theater opportunities are abundant. First-rate medical facilities are right up the street. Sports teams entertain baseball, hockey and basketball fans.

How can our schools lose out during this time of extraordinary investment in Portland? The cost-saving measures being considered by the school board (as reported March 22) include reductions to art, music, sports and physical education. How ironic! Perhaps the schools being considered for closing can be converted to more condominiums.

If our restaurants can win coveted national awards, why can’t our schools follow suit? Let’s not feast on Portland’s bounty while neglecting the education of our children. I urge Portland school and city officials to figure out a way to support Superintendent Xavier Botana’s proposed $113 million budget.

Susan Livingston

Portland


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