St. John Valley

The right side of history

To the editor:

On Feb. 11, Madawaska and SAD 33, and on Feb. 12, Fort Kent’s SAD 27 communities, will conduct straw poll votes to determine the educational future of the upper St. John Valley. The vote to proceed with the regional school project must be unanimous by the communities. People vote with their wallets, therefore, I offer the following: State of Maine school funding is based on student enrollment and programs. Higher student enrollment equals higher state funding and less local taxpayer burden and strain on our wallets. When members from one community shamelessly characterize a neighboring community as, “different and not culturally the same as us,” (12/9/19 Fort Kent Town Council meeting — apologies are owed to Susie Paradis and Ben Sirois) insisting on closing its borders to maintain its current way of life, that mentality threatens our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a new regional school. Do we really want the next, and the next, and all future generations of students to end up in a one-room school by depriving them of laid off teachers and cancelled programs who/that would otherwise be available to them for whatever path they set their goals on? Will they resent us because we exercised funnel vision instead of forward thinking by opening the door to all that education has to offer on the other side of that door? Northern Aroostook County currently has the second best national and best State math and science magnet school in Limestone. That, in itself, is a great marketing tool for those who relocate to a more wholesome way of life. Just imagine what a new state-of-the-art regional school will do for our struggling economies. A handful of residents, who consider themselves town “stewards” grasping at straws with no merit, cannot and will not be allowed to dictate the will of the majority. Voting YES on Feb. 11 and 12 will put all of us on the right side of history.

Doug Giroux

Madawaska

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