On June 8, referendum voting day in Monmouth, voters will be asked to decide on two articles that deal with the fate of the 1856 Monmouth Academy.

Before Cumston Hall was built in 1900, Monmouth was known for the school that many young people from central Maine attended. Some of them boarded with townspeople so they could receive the high-quality classical education that would enable them to succeed.

That brick building with its four classrooms stood as the town’s secondary school with, according to old records, about 13 one-room schoolhouses that served Monmouth students.

Article 32 authorizes a capital improvement project that will demolish the former Monmouth Middle School, except for the 1856 Monmouth Academy building, the administration building, and the playground. If passed, it authorizes spending $1.7 million for this project.

I believe this is misleading because the select board will seek grants and donations before spending any taxpayers’ money. At this point it really cannot be determined how much would be spent to make the old Monmouth Academy building a useful space.

Article 33 authorizes the demolition of all of the former Monmouth Middle School, including the old Monmouth Academy, except for the administration building and playground, and spending $452,000 to fund this project.

Both articles allow the spending of money from the sale of the Cottrell School to partially fund the projects.

I believe the information provided on the ballot will leave many voters confused. If you do not believe that either option provides the choice you want to make, vote “no” on both, and then the Select Board will try to provide a better choice for the next election in November.

Through the years too many old structures have been demolished. I believe that some of them are important enough for us to keep so that those who follow will better know of the past.

Douglas Ludewig


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