Letters

Valley Unified cost issue is not related to voting power

I have to respond to your Aug. 11 article on the proposed new school and the comments made by several SAD 27 board members.  

“We don’t currently have a vote proportionate to our contribution,” SAD 27 board member Toby Jandreau had said in November 2019. “Our vote is proportionate to a third, so if there’s a disagreement in Valley Unified, we could end up paying all of the bill. We don’t have a majority and that’s what we’re talking about and I think that’s part of the interlocal agreement that we need to look at further.” 

The reason SAD 27 is paying a 51 percent contribution to the cost is because you are sending that proportion of students to the school.  It has nothing to do with voting power.  The [Valley Unified Educational Service Center] is comprised of three school systems, and as such, each gets one-third of the governing votes.  The best way of making intelligent decisions is to have a balanced, odd-numbered board that makes decisions based on the issue, and not a board dominated by one community based on a dollar amount of contribution to the budget.  

We currently have a board of nine, three from each district.  Think about it. 

The VUESC governing document supports this approach as there is a “safety valve” in the document that provides for a seven-of-nine approval for any major decision, including budget decisions.  Not a five or six majority of the nine.  The use of the 51 percent number is a red herring.  It threatens the possibility of a new school and needs to stop immediately.

I agree with Toby, the SAD 27 board indeed needs to go back and review the Interlocal Agreement.

I was on the site selection committee and it was a fair and balanced process that resulted in a unanimous decision that the Frenchville site was the best site.  Even the SAD 27 reps to the committee agreed it was the best site.  It was at that time that the proverbial you know what hit the fan — big business people, big signs, a lawsuit, SAD 27 board meetings stacked with people spouting mischaracterizations and deception, even outright falsehoods.  

And here we are.  Still no approval from the state to move forward.  

We are on the cusp of losing the school entirely, just because of the narrow views in Fort Kent.  The adults in SAD 27 are bludgeoning the hopes and aspirations of all of the middle-high school students in the three districts — and that includes all of the pre-K to sixth-grade students of today who would eventually benefit greatly from the new middle high school and tech center, maybe even a performing arts center like Sanford that puts money back into the system from performances, with lots of parking, activity fields, and infrastructure space. 

All I can say is:  Go walk [to] or view the Fort Kent site.  Then do the same at the Frenchville site.  You decide which is best suited to the plan.  

Paul Cyr
Madawaska

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