We can’t afford to not support the School Administrative District 51 school budget. If our schools fail, our community fails. If we support our schools our community thrives. It’s that simple. As a selectman in North Yarmouth, I fully understand why individuals voted the school budget down. We are all facing the most difficult economic times most of us have experienced in our lifetimes. That said, trying to wring more cuts from the school budget is like trying to get blood from a stone. I do not believe any further cuts can be made without hurting our children’s education. I believe that when our schools suffer the whole community suffers.
SAD 51 directors have been responsive to all voices. When the voices from North Yarmouth told the Board that a 12 percent increase in our mil rate was unacceptable they worked to propose a 0 percent budget, which brings North Yarmouth’s mil rate increase to 8 percent. The increase is due to the state-equalized valuation, which is completely out of the board’s hands. Others voiced their concern about the loss of a teachers in fifth and sixth grades, which would have resulted in increased class sizes. The board listened and the teacher position was restored.
I believe our school budget was more the victim of complacency and preoccupation. The schools are part of the fabric that makes us a true community. We all must participate in the school budget validation process. Please vote yes on Tuesday, June 16.
Selectman Anne Graham