The Lewiston school budget, if approved, would increase costs and may still result in unsatisfactory student outcome. It may only ensure that district schools and students continue to fail.

That possible failure is familiar and also reliably predicted by the district’s past performance. Public education in Lewiston has consistently failed for more than a decade. This failure, no longer quiet, is now nationally publicized., a non-government agency, rates public schools based upon their standardized test scores. It credits Lewiston as having Maine’s first, second, third, ninth, 11th and 32nd worst-performing of the state’s 254 elementary schools; and lists Lewiston’s middle school as the worst performing of Maine’s 85 middle schools.

There may be nothing that residents can do, but disapproving the school budget could be a vote to express dissatisfaction with district performance. If stubborn voters, desiring and deserving of better student outcome, vote for disapproval, and if they outnumber voters interested in salaries, benefits and retirement, then another vote will have to be scheduled.

That cycle can be continued until the Lewiston School Committee and the Maine Education Association finally agree to promote a viable change to benefit students.

Richard Sabine, Lewiston