To the editor:
It is common for the public to point fingers and want to place blame on our elected officials when they make difficult, controversial decisions, and the recent decision by the school board of School Union 122 to send our high school-age kids to Washburn District High School rather than Caribou High School is one of those decisions.
However, the blame should not be placed nor should the anger be directed towards any one person on the Union 122 school board or on the group as a whole. This decision is based on a series of unfortunate events — the state’s lack of funding, and the increased cost of running the day-to-day operations of a school, and high tuition rates paid to satellite schools in our region, these, along with many other reasons have resulted in Union 122 board members having to make a difficult decision. For this, they should be commended; they should be commended for finding a way to fund the schools of Union 122 in a manner that does not increase taxes, saves money (a great deal of money), and still provides our children with a quality education. That is their purpose as board members.
However; if I were to have any frustration with this decision it would be in how the parents of these students were not given the opportunity to have final say (vote) in this manner. I have a hard time accepting the fact that a decision was made in regards to my child’s education without my input.
I also have difficulty excepting the actions of the Caribou School Board. Their unwillingness to offer reasonable tuition rates for Union 122 students seems to me as nothing but greedy. If Washburn can offer the same education at a remarkably lower cost I cannot comprehend why Caribou cannot or will not do the same. Also, their “take it or leave” it attitude says to me that they really do not want our kids, which is contrary to what Caribou school board member John Sjostedt is quoted as saying in the May 20, 2015 Aroostook Republican when he said “We want them back.” I say” prove it” by offering a more reasonable tuition rate for these students that does not force the hand of one side and line the pockets of the other.
Ironically, the only side losing out as a result of this decision is Caribou; they are losing money and will undoubtedly have to make that up somehow, perhaps by cutting jobs in the school system or raising taxes. More importantly they are losing out on the chance to have a wonderful group of kids attend their school for years to come.