In his inaugural address, Donald Trump spoke these words: “Americans want great schools for their children” and, “But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists … an educational system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge;”

As chairman of the Sheepscot Valley Regional School Unit board of directors, I certainly agree with the president that we want great schools for our children. We’re all about that — supporting faculty, staff and students, putting in place opportunities for all our students to move into the world imbued with the knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm to do well in a fast-paced world.

But I don’t think we’re flush with cash. We receive our prescribed subsidy from the state and ask local taxpayers to supplement our revenues to balance our operating budget. Over the years the regional school unit has been operating, local funds have made up an increasingly larger share of the funding for operations even as the state mandates an ever-growing financial commitment to education, but lacks the resources to fund its share.

Turning to alternative educational solutions in a rural state as Maine may not offer the desired effect. There is a finite number of students to be served. Dividing the pie into more pieces may work in urban areas with population concentrations, but probably not in the case of rural districts.

In 1642 Massachusetts (including part that later became Maine) adopted the first law providing for public education. It required that towns establish schools and raise funds to pay the expense of educating children. We’re still doing that because Americans and Mainers want great schools for their children.

F. Gerard Nault


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