letter to the editor

Don’t buy it

Fri, 04/12/2024 - 3:30pm

Dear Editor:

Voters correctly turned down the building of a new $28 million middle school structure once before, and they should turn down the proposed $30 million “remodel” of the old building on April 24 for three reasons:   

First, what’s been billed as a remodel is actually an expansion with an addition for school administration. This proposal has been made even though school leaders have failed to make the case that an oversized school will reverse declining student population. Affordable housing may help solve the population problem but we have just begun a small unproven project. Fix that first. “Overbuild the school now and save” is a marketeer’s strategy. Don’t buy it.  

Second, school leadership has failed to control its annual budget and has proposed huge increases for 2025 after burying three years of increased spending with temporary COVID federal funds. Those funds have been used up and our school’s opaque budget process seems designed to avoid scrutiny: it’s often passed with many unanswered questions. It is only because of third party letters and good reporting in this paper that we begin to understand the issues. Do not put your trust in leaders who cannot control expenses and then propose an additional $30 million “fix” that will increase our taxes even more. 

Third, rather than present the risk and tax impact plainly, school leadership has engaged in propaganda and sentimentality to justify the same bad idea. Our community deserves a better plan that doesn’t bankrupt households while ignoring the educational impact of an undersized student body with a limited curriculum, closed clubs and empty sports teams. It’s time to honestly consider prudent alternatives within our means. 

It’s sad that the voters will need to send the same message twice but if voters really want to put the students first and still afford to live here they need to vote no on April 24.  

Tom Myette

Boothbay Harbor taxpayer