Letter: SAD 51 budget deserves support

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Consistent with SAD 51’s goal of continuously improving its excellent teaching and learning environment, Cumberland and North Yarmouth voted overwhelmingly in 2006 to authorize the renovation and expansion of Greely High School. This project has already provided a substantial return on investment in a community where academic excellence and sensible fiscal management have long been its hallmarks. The College Board recently recognized SAD 51 as one of 388 districts nationwide to receive an Advanced Placement Achievement Award for providing broader access to AP courses while maintaining or improving student scores. Standard & Poor’s also gave SAD 51 an excellent bond rating of AA, saving taxpayers significant dollars.

Remaining mindful of taxpayer concerns while maintaining a focus on improved student achievement, the School Board has kept a flat budget for three years. Notably, of the proposed 2.93 percent increase to next year’s budget, only 1.62 percent is for operations while 1.31 percent reflects a one-time spike in debt service on Greely’s renovation. As part of the public budget vote scheduled for June 9 and for ratification at the polls on June 14, Cumberland and North Yarmouth will be asked again to authorize the annual debt service as part of approving next year’s school budget.

Strong public schools benefit the entire community and SAD 51 is a perfect example. Our schools are, literally and figuratively, at the center of our communities. They deserve and require our continued support.

Please join me in voting in favor of the SAD 51 budget.

Betts J. Gorsky
Cumberland Foreside