Guilford, Maine 04443
|Message from the Superintendent|
January 23, 2017
Dear Citizens of SAD #4,
It is once again the start of budget developing time for school districts across the state of Maine. The Piscataquis area has had some recent press regarding the economic woes of the communities. The reality of the situation is, regardless of population leaving and people on fixed incomes, there are still children that need an education to help them become productive members for the community. These realities remain the same regardless of who is in the position of Superintendent.
Budgets are developed with the information that the Board and administrators have at the time, both for the present and the future. If every year since 1999 had been “flat” funded to the towns as has been suggested to the Board, there would not even be a hint of SAD #4 in existence today, because it would not have taken into consideration the increase in the economics. Also, as with the town, it would have depleted the small cushion to working the district in the red. Instead, the district leaders for the past 20 years have not succumbed to the voices in the crowd questioning their financial know-how, but built budgets that have been good for education (children) and keep a school in the greater community.
We will again be building a budget, balancing an adequate education for the children and being fiscally responsible. The question in the minds of the Board and administrators in developing a 2017-2018 budget is, “Does the public want to keep a PreK-12 school in their community?” The cost to educate children in SAD #4 is similar to the cost in other area schools. If we send the students to other districts which would, in turn, close our schools, would that save money? Will it provide for more opportunities for the students?
Two reasons families move to towns are employment and schools. There are not many new job opportunities to attract people to our district. We continue to have good schools and that should be enough reason to have people move into the six towns that comprise SAD #4.
Currently, the SAD #4 Board is looking at ways to be more efficient and we are working with another neighboring district to explore short-term and long-term solutions. This is an invitation to the citizens to visit our schools while they are in session. Please come listen to the discussions at the School Board meetings and Committee meetings. Call my office. I will answer your questions or find the answer for you. It is so important to get the information from the people in the positions: teachers, principals, or superintendent and get it for yourself first hand.
It is my hope that in developing the budget for 2017-18, that the people take an active roll to find out information and that people care enough to take positive steps to help with the budget instead of criticizing and gossiping. Please come to the office or call to share your ideas.
Ann C. Kirkpatrick