Regional School Unit 38 (Readfield, Manchester, Wayne and Mount Vernon) is asking for approval on a $5.84 million bond for improvements to all of the facilities in the district. For 12 years enrollment has declined, the budget has gone up, as class sizes have remained small and student-to-teacher ratios low. Not long ago, $145,000 was spent on a new roof for the Wayne elementary school, which has less than 60 students enrolled and could have easily been combined with Readfield.

School districts statewide have been consolidating and closing schools for years to responsibly ease the burden on taxpayers while RSU 38 refuses to consider it.

A letter about the bond was sent to members of the four towns roughly a week before the holiday shutdown. With the holidays and two weekends, that left roughly 12 to 14 business days before the vote. I looked around Readfield for other notifications only to find a notice partially covered on a small bulletin board in the post office. Maybe it was posted in the town hall or district website but I had no reason to visit either.

It strikes me as an effort by the RSU to sneak this through without adequate notification or discussion to vote on this huge amount of potentially unnecessary spending.

It’s time to consolidate small classes, reduce expensive staff, and close near-empty schools like other districts have done statewide. It’s time to set a far greater example for students on the realities of modern life and how to fairly and respectfully treat the members of your community.

Please vote this bond down Jan. 8 to send a clear message to the school board to provide real access to public opinion after all options are thoroughly considered and discussed.

David Hepfner


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