Protect the schools

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As an educator, I respectfully share my deep disappointment that more isn’t being done to protect education today. The governor is unwilling to consider even a modest, 1 percent sales tax increase to generate $100 million in revenue to fully fund education.

It seems the governor cares more about his poll numbers than he does about the future of the state.

School consolidation has reduced the number of districts responsible for organizing education around the state, but certainly has not improved education.

I now see the whole process for what it truly is: A way for the state to fund education on the cheap. The $38 million in cuts last year and another $15 million this year confirm my belief. The problem is that when the state passes the cost of education on to local taxpayers, rural schools suffer tremendously.

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The governor and the legislators know there are good ideas for restoring funding for Maine’s educational system that involve low-risk, revenue-building measures, such as a small sales tax increase.

Every legislator I’ve talked to is using Gov. John Baldacci as political cover, stating that “the governor has already decided not to raise taxes, so there’s nothing I can do.”

If the governor would take a principled stand to fund education, the legislators, and the people of Maine, would support that decision.

It is not too late for the governor and Legislature to help protect our schools, and the children of Maine, from the detrimental impact of continuing to underfund education.

Jarrod Dumas, Mexico

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