The Star-Herald

Potato harvest is more than tradition

To expand on my previous letter to the editor, a little shorter school district wide harvest break, grouping teacher’s in-service days, and some excused absences might be enough to bring in the crop. Such a break would allow an opportunity for more teachers and bus drivers, along with the students to go out into the community (farms) and enhance their experiences and incomes.  After all, education is about preparing individuals to go to work, why not let some test the water early to better their community or is it all about training them to go away after graduation with no regard for our community? From my experience in raising children, what they’ve absorbed pre-harvest break will not be lost during break.

For those in the community who don’t think there is any redeeming educational value for the students during break, except for the ones who work for the farmers, there’s also the school farm that we’re invested in as an educational tool that needs tending to at the same time. I’ve mentioned it before, but this would also be a perfect time for students to get their community service in, as well as clubs to get in their field trips and families to take vacations, whether it be for educational purposes or recreation.

Year two and three of the most recent action by the school board to allow excused absences for harvest is nothing short of the end of harvest break. With the end of harvest break, is another nail in the coffin of this community.  The steady reduction of Aroostook County’s population over the past 60 years is undoubtedly related to the reduction in potato acres. If we want to protect any chance of maintaining our population, we need to help the farmers whenever possible.

As you reconsider this matter, it may be suggested we put this subject to public referendum. I am sure the numbers are high enough on both sides of this issue to divide the community. We govern by representative for a more thoughtful outcome. Your budget process is a clear example of the problem with referendums. I believe budgets should be developed by professionals and closely scrutinized by our representatives, in this case the school board, to assure the budget accomplishes the goals of the community. I don’t believe the general public has invested the time or has the expertise to be the final say in this process. The public should and does have the opportunity to weigh in throughout the process but shouldn’t have the final say.

Please excuse my bluntness, but I am very passionate about our community.  I hope that I can trust you will consider Brandon Roope’s ideas. Hopefully we can get to a schedule that we wouldn’t need to revisit for a very long time.  Thanks for your consideration.

Andy McGlinn
Crown Farms

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