Article 1 on the Belgrade town ballot for Nov. 7 asks for approval of $15,000 for legal fees required to complete the 22-step state withdrawal process before any decision to vote on actual withdrawal from Regional School Unit 18 can happen. At least 20 municipalities in Maine have completed the process and then withdrawn. In many communities, there is dissatisfaction with the accelerating costs of education. Belgrade is no exception and I suggest doing nothing is not the answer.

Please consider:

• Belgrade pays 27.98 percent of local share with only 16.31 percent of the student population.

• Debt service has been 20 percent each for five communities but has just been changed to 75/25, property valuation/student population, which probably will equal 27.98 percent for Belgrade. If the current bond issue passes, with the equal share gone, Belgrade pays more of the cost. The purpose of Belgrade belonging to RSU 18 is to benefit from economy of scale. Isn’t that to share equally in cost and savings?

• The bond issue wasn’t broken down into two as it should have been — one question for updating all the educational facilities and the other for athletic fields. It’s a difficult decision, as our buildings need repairs. Why were our facilities allowed to get in such disrepair with our children using them?

• Local control is most important — you know best what you want for your children. If Belgrade runs Belgrade Central, the school board would be town residents working with our part-time superintendent; their recommendations would be in the best interest of Belgrade students. Your vote will count and education concerns will be heard. Older students would attend RSU 18 as tuition students.

Ernest Rice


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