The Regional School Unit 5 withdrawal – better known as Moving Freeport Forward – is now in full gear, leading up to a Freeport withdrawal vote. Prior to last week’s election, the focus was on the renovation bond. MFF chose to not take an official position on the renovation to allow that to go through the needed public debate. To be clear, the vote on Dec. 17 is not related to the renovation bond. After five years in the RSU, Durham, Pownal, and Freeport have never collectively approved an annual budget or capital expense project. I believe that Freeport’s withdrawal from RSU is a necessary and prudent step.
Last week, the renovation bond passed by less than 1 percent. In Durham and Pownal, it was rejected by 64 percent. Strong-arming two neighboring towns into capital investments they disagree with is not a prudent way to run a school district, or a decent way to treat our neighbors. There are other ways to get needed renovations that save money. In May 2012, school architects presented an option that showed Freeport’s cost for a 590-seat high school at $4 million. This compares to the $16.3 million dollar bond we are currently forced to fund.
I believe that a stand-alone Freeport school district can be accomplished in an economical way and will result in a more flexible and nimble system. We invite all Freeport residents to join us at the public meeting on Dec. 3 to learn more about why Freeport should withdraw from RSU 5.