Valley strategic school plan ahead of schedule
FORT KENT, Maine — More than a dozen local stakeholders and partners met, Monday, March 13, at Fort Kent Community High School to continue work on a strategic plan aimed at addressing issues such as declining student populations, rising costs of maintaining infrastructure, reduced state funding for education and a desire to keep local property taxes low. Such a plan, organizers say, may or may not involve school consolidation or other shared services.
The Tri District Strategic Planning Steering Committee, which has met regularly since September, has representation from Maine School Administrative Districts 27 and 33, and the Madawaska School Department.
The objective of this planning process is to provide local leaders with the tools to make decisions about schools that are based on the expectations, values, and priorities of their respective communities.
At Monday’s meeting, planning consultant and process facilitator Scott Voisine, reviewed with members how the final report will be structured.
“I am working on a final draft of the entire plan right now,” Voisine said. “This will be presented at public hearings, which will be scheduled later.”
Voisine said the group is ahead of schedule, and that stakeholders still had time to provide more input on what will go into the document. The plan will be a product of the committee and not of any single school district. Voisine said the planning committee is a collaboration and that, while individual school departments are involved, the work of this strategic planning process is more broad based.
The plan will be forward looking, Voisine added. “It will be about where we want to go,” he said.
The authors will include approximately a dozen “core values,” according to Voisine. In addition, Voisine will create a list of “strategic priorities” based on the work the committee has done. These will be further refined as the group continues its work, and as feedback from the public is generated.
“A plan is a fluid document,” Voisin told committee members. If the final plan is approved by a school district or department, it does not “bind them” to every detail of the plan, said Voisine.
Voisine said he hoped to have a final draft of the plan by mid-summer.