The majority of citizens in RSU 18 do not value the education of their young people nor do they value our country’s democratic process. How can I say this? The fact that only 19 percent of Belgrade’s registered voters, 20 percent of China’s, 17 percent of Oakland’s, 14 percent of Rome’s and 15 percent of Sidney’s voted on the proposed school budget on June 13 is the basis of this statement. The budget was defeated by only 38 votes.

As a retired teacher who began a teaching career in 1968, I have worked in schools (22 years in China) that have struggled because of budget cuts and ever increasing expectations of staff. Forty-five positions have been cut from RSU 18 in the last five years. Do people really think the student population is getting easier to teach? Are students’ problems decreasing? Are the expectations of the government and parents decreasing? Are the jobs of today and the future the same as even a few years ago? I know just the opposite is true. When a position is cut, the responsibilities of that position transfers to someone else in the system and children suffer as staff cannot humanly do what is increasingly expected of them.

When less than 20 percent of eligible voters actually vote, what message are we sending our children? I am dismayed to think that children are being taught by example that our democratic system is not worth supporting.

Do the people of RSU 18 really want the enormously important decision about our young people’s education decided by such a minority of people?

The school budget will be presented again, and I urge you to make my opening statement false. Do you support the education of our young people? Do you value your right to vote?

Vote.

Sherry Spaulding

South China

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