2013-06-07 / Letters

Vote for school budget is an investment in the future

Letter to the editor:

I am writing to support the school budget and, like many supporters was surprised with the recent vote, especially after the overwhelming support for building the new Wentworth. Recent quotes from our town councilors that the “people have spoken,” when approximately 10 percent of voters went to the polls or “people in support of the school budget need to show up at hearings” has energized me to be more vocal in my support that the investments in our schools has on the broader community.

While I certainly appreciate paying less in taxes when appropriate, I also understand that taxes are only one factor of what makes a community attractive to businesses and new residences.

Investing in our institutions like the fire and police department, the library and yes, our schools keeps our community safe and vibrant. Protecting open space and farmland, keep protecting public access to our beaches and financing transportation infrastructure all are key to keeping Scarborough an attractive, special place to live and work.

When you think about our community and what makes it a place of quality, do you think that it is the lower taxes or do you think about an Eastern Trail jog, a canoe ride in Maine’s largest marsh, a visit to Winslow Homer’s studio, an outing to one of Scarborough’s beaches with the kids, Scarborough Summerfest or a Concert in the Park?

I could go on and on, but these were made possible by community investments and attention. The schools are part of the fabric of what makes Scarborough a wonderful place, keeps property values strong and helps attract businesses. However, they are not funded adequately. They just are not. I can cite many examples but here are just a few:

Right now there are approximately 300 laptops for over a 1,000 students in the high school; foreign language, while restored in the last budget, still does not have a full program at the middle school level. Kids in our community are still being taught in temporary trailers at some of the schools. I am not sure that we can say the schools are adequately staffed at proper levels. We must invest.

Many of us are busy with work, responsibilities to family and complicated lives that can overshadow the time it takes to go to the polls on a random Tuesday in May and vote on a single item – a school budget. For the other 90 percent who did not vote, you get another chance on Thursday, June 11 to have your voice heard. If you support the schools, please consider making the strongest statement you can and vote yes. Our kids and the community will thank you for it. Mark Ouellette Scarborough

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