Opinion

Misrepresentation of community sentiment

To the editor: 

As a resident of Fort Kent and Superintendent of Schools for all three school units in the Valley Unified Education Service Center, I am writing to ask the individual or group behind the “Keep our Schools in Fort Kent” and “Help Save Our School” signs to stop posting these throughout our community, as they constitute a misrepresentation of community sentiment in Fort Kent and across MSAD 27. 

To the citizens of the communities served by the Madawaska School Department and MSAD 33, I am writing to assure you the individual or group responsible for these signs do not speak for me, for the greater Fort Kent community, and for MSAD 27. 

I am also writing to ask all citizens of the Upper St. John Valley: aren’t we tired of settling, tired of watching opportunities come to our region and leave because of individuals who refuse to realize that it’s time to think, behave and act differently? 

We all need to approach the opportunity for a modern, new, regional educational facility in our region with an open mind and we must be receptive to change. The blueprint laid out for education in our communities 80, 50, and even 20 years ago can no longer be followed. 

As both a Fort Kent resident and Madawaska native who now serves as Superintendent of Schools for all the communities in the Valley Unified Education Service Center, I invite any citizen in our region with misgivings about the proposed new school to come sit with us and hear about the realities of education today and into the future, and to learn what will happen if this regional school project does not succeed. 

This regional school project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Prejudice based on rumor, innuendo, fear, baseless accusations, and personal/local politics may compromise the best chance our children and our communities have for a competitive future. We all deserve better. Please allow the Site Selection Committee to continue its work without bias. Please attend meetings and listen to the facts. And please open your mind to change. 

Finally, to the individual or group behind the “Keep Our School in Fort Kent” roadside marketing campaign, please take down your signs. All you are doing is creating discomfort and jeopardizing the most important project our region has ever had. Is that really the outcome you want? 

Benjamin Sirois
Fort Kent

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