James Carignan’s article (Feb. 25) attempts with smoke, mirrors and “maybes” to convince readers of the impossible: that school district consolidation, in which schools and teachers are no longer accountable to local towns, actually maintains local control.

I’m sorry, but this doesn’t pass the straight face test.

Carignan implies that large mega-boards for our schools that reduce or eliminate community representation are just fine, and powerless advisory councils are wonderful. This is an issue of power and social class.

It’s a myth that vast sums of money are being spent on education administration. While Maine spends $65 per pupil more than the national average on central office administration, we spend $290 per pupil less than the national average on support services often being performed by Maine superintendents, rather than hiring specialists. In fact, of all our education spending, Maine’s percent for administration is fourth lowest nationally.

“Local control” is not a four-letter word. It is about:

• Keeping local schools open.

• Shorter bus rides.

• The security of knowing a child’s teachers and administrators.

• Going to a board meeting and knowing the members.

• Calling a board member about school concerns.

• Getting a call back when calling the superintendent.

• Having enough board members to act for the town.

Carignan’s imaginings of local engagement are just that. Be careful. When the state board tells you that giving up your power is good for you, you are on a slippery slope.

Keith Cook, Waterville


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