MSAD 75 schools need our support Thursday

As regular readers of this paper will know, the administrators and teachers of the MSAD 75 school district have been under a sustained pressure campaign for several years by members of the advocacy group “Parents Rights in Education” (or PRIE), which is based in Oregon and was started by a former chair of the Oregon Republican Party.

The campaign has hampered the effective functioning of our schools, resulting most recently in the resignation of Superintendent Steve Connolly, who cited political divisions in the community as his reason for leaving. In a Feb. 13 interview, current MSAD 75 School Board Chair Frank Wright made the fairly innocuous observation that PRIE’s pressure campaign against the schools was “politically motivated” and invited residents of the district to learn about PRIE’s agenda by visiting its website.

PRIE’s response has been informative. They plan to make a demonstration of their grievances against Mr. Wright at this Thursday’s school board meeting. And tellingly, in the last week, PRIE also overhauled its website, eliminating any mention of its specific policy priorities. Gone are the explicit charges of “anti-American education,” the fixation on transgender people and “drag queens,” and the hostility to sex education. Gone too is the support for “school choice,” (a euphemism for defunding public schools and redirecting taxpayer dollars to private schools), and denunciation of teachers’ unions, both evergreen conservative talking points.

PRIE’s members can hold whatever beliefs they like and advocate for them with the school board, but the fact that they are going to such lengths to hide their ideological stance towards our schools indicates that they know that most people don’t agree with their views. It is vitally important that MSAD 75 residents show up at 6:30 p.m. this Thursday at Mt. Ararat High School to demonstrate that we stand behind our teachers, administrators, and those school board members like Mr. Wright who want to reassert common sense in our school district. We’ve had enough politically driven chaos and it’s time to focus on supporting our schools and the kids they serve.

Reve Wood,



The cost of Pine Tree Power

Everyone knows we love our ballot initiatives in Maine. But did you know that one we will be voting on this November would cost us billions of dollars if we pass it? That’s the estimated cost to force a buyout of the state’s two privately owned utilities and set up a whole new “quasi-governmental” utility called Pine Tree Power to operate our power grid.I wish ballot initiatives – even ones with charming, folksy names – were required to have a price tag attached, because Pine Tree Power supporters are either ignoring this huge debt or deliberately hiding it from us. And they definitely haven’t been talking about all the risks that will come with forcibly taking over two large companies and forming an even bigger one run by the government. Instead, they’re giving us all kinds of happy talk and promises about how rates, service and grid investment will get better once the state is in charge. Really?For all the ballot initiatives I’ve voted on over the years, nothing has been this expensive or this consequential. Tell your legislator, your mayor or council, and your neighbors that you’re against the Pine Tree Power takeover. And don’t be fooled into thinking this “off-year” election doesn’t matter. We need all Mainers paying attention because we are the ones who will be shouldering the billions and billions of dollars in debt if Pine Tree Power passes in November.

Herb Stevens,


Learn about how to save on energy

Our energy bills are killing us. On top of inflation, the cost of electricity, propane, natural gas, home heating oil and gasoline for our trucks and cars makes it ever more difficult for Maine families to make ends meet. It feels like the energy companies have got us locked in their vice, and we have nowhere to turn.But those concerned about heating costs have an upcoming opportunity to learn about smart ways to lower these expenses for the long term. A program called “Save Your Money and Our Climate” is happening at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick. The lead speaker is Andy Meyer, senior program manager at Efficiency Maine. He will be presenting on the many ways to save on energy with rebates and tax credits.Take purchasing a heat pump for example. A low-income family can qualify for a $2,000 rebate on the purchase cost, which might otherwise run $4,600 installed. That’s a savings of about 43% on a quiet electric appliance that heats and cools and will go on to save you about 40% on your heating bills for the next several decades.Really? Well, heating with oil costs an average homeowner in Maine almost $3,800 per heating season. But electricity for a heat pump producing the same amount of warmth will only cost about $2,300. The smart money in our wallet will go to energy efficiency and electrification. Come learn more next Tuesday evening.

Sam Saltonstall,

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