I enjoyed the Maine Compass from a Gardiner city councilor regarding the city’s conversion to wood pellet heat, until the article inexplicably turned negative regarding our local school board spending money and “hoping residents won’t notice.”

As a resident of Gardiner, I see us as one community and, as such, the towns and schools should work together for solutions, rather than bad-mouthing each other in the media. Criticizing our own school board does nothing to help the city’s image and ruined what could have been a great article about our community.

The school district already has saved tens of thousands of dollars working with Efficiency Maine on lighting and other energy-related projects. It’s too bad that positive achievement wasn’t mentioned.

Nobody likes paying property taxes. As a former school board member, however, I can tell you that RSU 11 is in the bottom 10 percent in the state in dollars spent per pupil, so what we require from Gardiner’s taxpayers is one of the lowest anywhere in Maine. And unless things have changed since I left two years ago, I can tell you the school board spends 99 percent of its time on two things: Improving student achievement and keeping costs down.

I for one am proud of both my city and my schools.

Steve Hunnewell


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