This is in response to Auburn City Councilor Dan Herrick’s analysis on the cost of education (letter, Feb. 4).

Herrick said the cost was almost $10,000 a year per pupil (Greatschools.net lists it at $9,025). Multiply that by the 3,479 students in the district to figure a yearly expense of $31,397,975. Divide that by the estimated population in Auburn (24,000) and one gets a per capita cost of $1,308.25.

Maine spends $1,778 per year, per capita, on welfare.

Maine spends $44,379 per year per inmate incarcerated.

Are we being pennywise and pound-foolish?

Perhaps comparing educational costs to welfare and incarceration costs is comparing apples to oranges, but it has far more in common than trying to compare public pupil spending to post-secondary tuition costs. A lack of funding in education could lead to an increase in funding in welfare costs. But trying to compare costs of public schooling to college tuition is simply ludicrous. Are colleges mandated special education costs as public schools are? Are they obligated to pay for sports, rather than actually profiting off them? Are colleges required to provide meals to those who show up hungry? Wait, Auburn doesn’t do that at Edward Little – there is no lunch program there.

Chinese proverb: Should we give fish, or teach fishing? The answer is obvious.

Give them away now and they’ll be stealing or begging for them soon. That is, if they aren’t already.

Nathaniel Stowe, Lewiston


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