Letter: Support the SAD 51 budget

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Voters in School Administrative District 51 would do well next month to resist being swept up in the current anti-tax sentiment, especially for their own public school district. Our schools are a valuable resource for Cumberland and North Yarmouth. Greely High School was one of four schools in Maine awarded U.S. News and World Report’s Silver Medal in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Our graduation rate ranks among the highest in Maine at 96.3 percent; in 2009, 94 percent of our students matriculated to college, up from 63 percent in 1993. Our Class of 2010 ranked in the top six high schools in Maine in reading and math, and in the top five schools in writing. Among SAD5 1 teachers, 21 are national board certified and 91 percent have master’s degrees or higher. Residents are getting a superior product for a reasonable price.

The temptation to vote no on all taxes is strong. However, the proposed budget will be the third year in a row that SAD 51 has held the school budget to a zero percent increase. Taking even more money away from the schools isn’t the answer. We need to maintain educational quality through careful investment and help prepare our children for a rapidly changing world. Let’s not lurch from one crisis to the next and sacrifice our high-achieving and cost-efficient schools.

Please join me in voting yes June 3 at the district budget meeting and at the polls on June 8 to preserve our most important investment.

Heather Giandrea
North Yarmouth