Letter: Flawed, careless decision in SAD 75
You reported SAD 75 will again try to close West Harpswell School, but did not address the disgraceful manner in which they reached this decision. The subcommittee that recommended closure held four supposedly public meetings which were not publicly announced; refused to accept corrections of misleading data and rushed through a vote that was not on the agenda, preventing even other School Board members from knowing of their plans.
They found "criteria for closure" to be unchanged from a year ago, but used "enrollment projections" that mix WHS and Harpswell Island School, and failed to gather any fall 2011 information, despite two full classes plus a waiting list at the Harpswell Community Pre-K School.
Brunswick Housing Authority, Habitat for Humanity and Hamilton Place are all building new houses for working families near WHS, but no one asked them. The board accepted statistics presented by the superintendent that showed a sharp decline in Harpswell building activity. In reality there are seven new house permits in 2010, compared to one in the same period of 2009.
The full board accepted this mess with few objections, rushing to vote before the new elected Harpswell member takes office. Both the subcommittee and board repeatedly claimed to be acting solely in the interests of the children, but no consideration was given to academic damage from closing an excellent, high-performance community school and busing students to a remote location. The citizens of Harpswell should not be bullied by this unprofessional power play.