After the recent Regional School Unit 5 budget vote, folks in all three towns may be thinking back on what we used to have.
Freeport had an up-and-coming community school system. Durham and Pownal had low taxes, strong elementary schools and choice of high schools. Why would we have given that up? Three false pretenses.
First, the state threatened to penalize towns that failed to fit their governance scheme. Second, RSUs were promised “bonuses” and priority on building projects. Third, the state process used flawed data, including the miscalculation that Freeport High School could house 800 students. This mathematical error has staggering negative implications for our towns.
Fortunately, we still can get back to the way things were. We haven’t borrowed money together nor built anything new. Freeport votes the opposite of Durham and Pownal on virtually every single issue. This should be easy.
Kids come first. Freeport will gladly grandfather seven years of enrolled RSU 5 students into our system. This seems a great compromise; adding too many students will trigger an expensive and otherwise unnecessary expansion of Freeport High School.
As a member of the Freeport withdrawal team, I’ve witnessed repeated stonewalling by the RSU, insisting that Freeport High School must remain the “school of guaranteed acceptance” for the entire region. While I understand the RSU is seeking an edge, it’s not fair to punish Freeporters for the empty threats and untruths that hoodwinked us six years ago.
Let’s make this simple and go back to the way things used to be.